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Huntington Station

File photo.

A driver was seriously injured in Huntington Station early Friday morning when he hit a utility pole.

The Suffolk County Police Department said the man had been driving south on New York Avenue in a 1991 Mazda SUV at about 2:20 a.m. when his car left the road and hit the pole, just north of Schwab Road.

The man was brought to Huntington Hospital with serious injuries, then transferred to North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset.

Police identified the victim as 50-year-old West Babylon resident Giovanni Saccente.

Detectives from the SCPD’s 2nd Squad are investigating the case, and the Mazda was impounded for a safety check.

Anyone with information about the crash is asked to call detectives at 631-854-8252 or to call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 800-220-TIPS.

Story last updated on Friday, Aug. 28, at 1:15 p.m.

Parking lot possession
Police arrested a 23-year-old woman from Shoreham on Aug. 20 for possession of Suboxone, a controlled substance. The arrest took place in a parking lot on Mariners Way in Port Jefferson. A 25-year-old man from Huntington was arrested in the same location that day, for possession of heroin.

Give him some credit
On Aug. 21, police arrested a 40-year-old man from Miller Place for petit larceny in the Sunrise Service Road Plaza, for stealing Timberland boots from an unidentified store and returning them for store credit. Police also found heroin in the man’s possession.

Can’t dodge DUI
A 53-year-old man from Bohemia was arrested in Centereach on Aug. 22 for driving under the influence. The man was driving a 2002 Dodge south on County Road 97 when he rear-ended the car in front of him. Police discovered the man was driving while impaired.

At the corner of heroin and theft
Police arrested a 39-year-old woman from Coram on Aug. 22, after she took unidentified items from a Walgreens on Middle Country Road. She was also found in possession of heroin.

King of barcodes
On Aug. 21, a 63-year-old man was arrested at the King Kullen in Independence Plaza in Selden for manipulating a barcode scanner machine. Police said the man previously committed the same act at two other locations.

Kicked and keyed
On Aug. 20 an unknown person dented and keyed a person’s car on Piedmont Drive in Port Jefferson Station. The individual dented the car by kicking it.

Dognap ends happily
A female took a small black Maltese dog from a female complainant on Piedmont Drive in Port Jefferson Station on Aug. 20, at 1:40 a.m. The complainant was reunited with her dog and didn’t want to press charges. Police said the complainant knows the woman who took the dog.

You’re Heinekidding me
An unknown person walked into the CVS Pharmacy on Main Street in Port Jefferson on Aug. 22 and stole a six-pack of Heineken beer.

Up against the wall
On Aug. 19 at 8:40 p.m. a man was walking on Linden Place in Port Jefferson when someone approached him from behind and pushed him against a brick wall. The suspect demanded money and took it from the man’s wallet before fleeing on foot.

I’ve got the power
An unknown person removed assorted power tools from a box truck on Aug. 19, at 1:56 a.m., on Middle Country Road in Miller Place.

Unsafe driving comment
Two male customers at a gas station on Nesconset Highway in Mount Sinai got into a dispute on Aug. 22. One customer assaulted the other, punching and pushing him to the ground. According to police, the dispute arose because the complainant told the other customer that he had made an unsafe driving maneuver.

Turning the other cheek
Two women got into a dispute on Broadway in Rocky Point on Aug. 19. At 12:05 a.m., one woman threw a drink at the complainant and struck her on the side of the face with a beer bottle. There were no serious injuries.

Tackling petty crime
Police said on Aug. 21 a suspect and two other people ran “football-style” into a person’s mailbox on Monticello Drive in Shoreham at 1:19 a.m. The mailbox was damaged.

Gas money
On Aug. 19 at 9:40 p.m. an unknown suspect entered a gas station on Middle Country Road in Centereach and displayed a black handgun. He demanded cash from the register before taking it out himself.

Check, please
An unknown person and their party got into a verbal dispute with other people at the Olive Garden in Centereach. The incident took place on Aug. 19 at 9 p.m., when police said the former group chased the latter out of the restaurant and damaged the restaurant’s front door in the process.

Pumping and running
An unknown person pumped gas on Middle Country Road in Centereach and left the station without paying.

DWI crash
A 54-year-old man from Ronkonkoma was arrested in Stony Brook on Aug. 21 and charged with driving while intoxicated in the first degree. Police said the man was driving a 2014 Dodge pickup at 10:09 p.m. at Gibbs Pond Road and Pleasant Drive in Smithtown when he was involved in a motor vehicle crash. He was transferred to Stony Brook University Hospital, where he was arrested.

Gifted
A 39-year-old man from Shirley was arrested on Aug. 21 at 11:40 a.m. and charged with petit larceny. Police said he activated a Visa gift card and left Home Depot on Pond Path without paying at 10 p.m. on Aug. 20.

Dunkin’ GoNuts
A Dunkin’ Donuts employee at a store on Nesconset Highway in Setauket-East Setauket told police that someone head-butted him in the nose at 5:50 a.m. on Aug. 22. The attack came after staff asked the angry customer to leave.

Like taking candy from a baby
Someone stole a female Walmart shopper’s pocketbook that was located in the rear of a baby carriage while at the store on Nesconset Highway in Setauket-East Setauket on Aug. 19. The pocketbook contained cash, an iPhone and a child’s wallet.

Gone in a flash
Someone stole earphones, a cell phone case and a flashlight from Target located on Pond Path in South Setauket on Aug. 19 at 3:50 p.m. There have been no arrests.

Swept away
Someone took a Dyson vacuum cleaner from Lowe’s Home Improvement on Nesconset Highway in Stony Brook on Aug. 23 at 3:50 p.m. There have been no arrests.

An unwelcome visit
Suffolk County Police said a 28-year-old man from Lake Grove was arrested at the 4th Precinct on Aug. 21 at 12:20 a.m. and charged with second-degree burglary. Police said the man entered a residence on Shepherd Lane in Nesconset and stole property sometime between Aug. 3 at 6 p.m. and Aug. 4 at 11:30 a.m. Police couldn’t say what he stole.

Speedy DWI
A 22-year-old Northport man was arrested on Aug. 20 at Derby Place and Route 25A in Smithtown at 1:45 a.m. and charged with first-degree driving while intoxicated. Police said the man, who was driving on Route 25A in a 1997 Buick, was observed speeding before being pulled over.

Bad reality check
Police said a 44-year-old man from Brentwood was arrested by Suffolk County Police on Aug. 20 at the 4th Precinct at 10:50 a.m. and charged with third-degree grand larceny. Police said the man knowingly cashed a bad check.

Jewelry jam
A 49-year-old man from Selden was arrested in Smithtown on Aug. 19 and charged with fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property and fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property. Police said that in 2013 and 2014, the man sold several items of stolen jewelry to pawn shops on Walt Whitman Road in Melville.

Falling flat
Police arrested a 49-year-old woman from Central Islip on Aug. 19 and charged her with petit larceny. Police said she stole a 48-inch flat screen TV from Walmart on Veterans Memorial Highway in Islandia on Aug. 8 at 2:25 p.m. She was arrested at the 4th Precinct.

Pole patrol
A 23-year-old man from Medford was arrested in St. James on Aug. 22 and charged with operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .08 of 1 percent in the first degree, and driving while intoxicated. Police said the man was driving a 2008 Jeep on Middle Country Road east of Lake Avenue in St. James at 3:15 a.m. when he struck a pole.

Lights out
Someone pushed over a light post in front of Katie’s bar on West Main Street in Smithtown on Aug. 20 at 1:47 a.m. There have been no arrests.

Come take my car
A man told police that someone took his 2014 Nissan Altima parked on the street in front of his parents’ home on Valleywood Drive in Smithtown on Aug. 19. Police said the complainant told them he left his car unlocked and the key in the glove box.

Wallet woes
A man told police someone stole his wallet from a 2007 Honda CRV sometime between Aug. 20 and Aug. 21 on Springmeadow Drive in Kings Park. The wallet contained credit cards and a driver’s license.

Crash ‘n dash
A 52-year-old woman from Huntington driving a 2013 Nissan Sentra attempted to flee the scene on Aug. 21 following an accident. She was arrested on New York Avenue and charged with an aggravated DWI, DWI and leaving the scene. She rear-ended a 2015 Chevrolet. There were no passengers inside the car.

Taking the high road
Police arrested a 48-year-old woman from Huntington at exit 50 of the Long Island Expressway on Aug. 21 and charged her with operating a motor vehicle impaired by drugs. She was driving a 2005 Chrysler and was involved in a crash with an unknown vehicle.

Stickin’ it to them
On Aug. 20, a 21-year-old woman from Huntington was arrested at the LIE and Route 110 in Huntington and charged with fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, for unlawful possession of a collapsible baton. She was also charged with using a vehicle by temporary custody, no contest. She had it in the passenger side of the 2015 Ford she was driving. Police discovered this after pulling her over for being in violation of a rental agreement with U-Haul.

Joy ride
At approximately 10 p.m. on Aug. 20, a 19-year-old man from Huntington was arrested on Clay Pitts Road in Greenlawn and charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Cops found the drug on him during a traffic stop.

Parks and theft
On Aug. 22, at approximately 10:40 p.m., a man told cops that three men surrounded him while he was at Heckscher Park in Huntington. One of the three men punched him and stole his laptop.

On a roll
Huntington Mazda, on Jericho Turnpike in Huntington Station, reported to police that four rims and four tires were stolen from a 2010 BMW between midnight and 12:30 am on Aug. 19.

Charger jacked
A woman at the Family Service League on Park Avenue in Huntington reported to police that her cell phone charger was stolen on Aug. 20. She said she placed it by a common sleeping area and when she returned it was gone.

Project is one of three slated for Huntington Station

A rendering of what the affordable veteran housing project on Depot Road and E9th Street would look like. A zone change is required to move the plan forward. Photo from Fred DeSanti

The Huntington Town Board will consider changing the zoning on its own motion of a Huntington Station property next month to make way for a veterans affordable housing project.

The proposal, which would be built on a quarter-acre vacant lot on the corner of Depot Road and East 9th Street, entails creating four, one-bedroom affordable units in a two-story building with a lobby, according to property owner Fred DeSanti. The town board is considering changing the zoning from C-6 Huntington Station Overlay District to C-1 Office Residence District to accommodate the project.

DeSanti said in thinking up ways to develop the property that he and his brother-in-law Douglas Quimby own both became interested in helping veterans while also doing their part to revitalize Huntington Station.

“We just thought this was a way we could do something good for the community [and] we could provide much needed housing for the veterans,” he said.

The town and the community, he said, received the project warmly. Joan Cergol, the executive director of the town’s Economic Development Corporation, said DeSanti approached her with the idea in part to contribute to the area’s face-lift while also giving veterans an affordable place to live. She said the town is supportive of the project.

DeSanti’s project isn’t the only veterans housing project slated for the area. VetsBuild is in the process of building the country’s first ever Department of Energy zero-energy home built by vets and for vets on Depot Road near East 5th Street, a project that is in final reviews at Huntington Town. Also, the town is working on pushing forward Columbia Terrace, a 14-unit affordable housing condo complex for veterans to be located at Railroad Street and Lowndes Avenue.

“There seems to be an organic appearance of veteran-based housing in Huntington Station, which is a welcome type of a development as we are pursing new development in the downtown area,” Cergol said.

Once it is completed, the VetsBuild project — a green project — will create and generate as much energy as it uses, according to Rick Wertheim, the senior vice president of green initiatives and housing at United Way of Long Island. It will accommodate five veterans with special needs.

Asked why build in Huntington Station, Wertheim said they liked that the area’s slated for redevelopment. The town board has been working with master developer Renaissance Downtowns to redevelop the area.

Building in such an area “gives the folks who live there the opportunity to walk to a really dynamic living experience as opposed to being densely nested in a residential area where they’re kind of cut off from everything,” Wertheim said.

Cergol said she believes the word is getting out about change in Huntington Station.

“I think that there’s a general sense of optimism and enthusiasm to be a part of positive change in Huntington Station,” she said. “Whether you are a government, a private property owner or a nonprofit … everybody is looking through the same kind of prism now.”

Teq CEO Damian Scarfo, and President Chris Hickey. Photo from Lisa Hendrickson

Teq, a Huntington Station-based educational technology and professional development firm, has been named the official provider of SMART Technologies products for all K-12 districts in New York.

The company will also offer professional development for SMART products and technical support from SMART certified professionals. The official partnership will begin on Oct. 1.

SMART Technologies, a Canadian company, is best known for inventing the first interactive whiteboard in 1991. The company now offers interactive tables and pen displays, conferencing software, interactive learning software and more.    

“We are thrilled to be selected as SMART’s sole vendor for K-12 in New York,” Damian Scarfo, CEO of Teq said in a statement. “SMART offers the best interactive displays available, and we couldn’t be happier to align ourselves with the innovation SMART is bringing to classrooms around the world.”

The partnership is projected to increase Teq’s revenues by nearly 20 percent, and the company is projecting $50 million in sales for the year, according to Chris Hickey, president of Teq. The company used to be one of six companies reselling SMART products in the state.

SMART’s president touted the partnership and the Huntington Station company’s solid reputation for professional development.

“We are delighted to name Teq as our sole education partner in New York,” Greg Estell, president of SMART Education Solutions said in a statement. “Teq has an incredible reputation for professional development, enabling educators to deliver best-in-class learning. This, coupled with SMART’s world-leading education technology, makes for a powerful combination.”

As part of a strategy to get more SMART products into state schools, the company has submitted a bid to the New York State Office of General Services to try to negotiate a contract to be a listed vendor of classroom technology to New York. SMART is looking to set a maximum price point at which products can be sold to municipalities through this contract.

Like SMART, Teq will also be looking to further its relationship with schools, hoping to partner with the Board of Cooperative Educational Services to get more technology into the districts. The company is hoping to benefit from $2 billion in funding offered to school districts through Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) SMART Schools Bond Act by offering districts that seek funding delayed payment options.

The act is intended to bring about 21st century upgrades to educational technology and infrastructure in schools to ensure that students graduate with the skills they need to thrive in today’s economy. Voters approved the act in a November 2014 referendum.

Teq will be offering a complete range of SMART products and software, including SMART kapp iQ and Teq Unlimited.

SMART kapp iQ is an ultra HD interactive display that can multi-link student devices so that all participants can collaborate, contribute and see what is being written in real time. Teq Unlimited is a software package that teaches how to successfully integrate new technology into the classroom.

“Kapp iQ is not only specifically designed for the needs of teachers and students … it’s designed for how kids learn — using devices and naturally interacting with technology,” Hickey said.

Teq is offering a free trial period for districts in New York. The trial, which lasts 30 days, includes delivery, setup and two hours of professional development of whichever products the districts chose to try, according to a Teq statement.

Teq has been in the business since 1972, and was originally located in Oyster Bay out of a barn. According to the company, its mission is to support the continued evolution of the modern classroom by offering world-renowned professional development and providing service and equipment that enables student achievement.

Cops say arrests are up and recent violence gang-related

Christina Fudenski, a Greenlawn resident, speaks with police officer Angela Ferrara at South Huntington Public Library on Wednesday, Aug. 12. Photo by Victoria Espinoza

Residents of Huntington are calling for an increase in staffing at the Suffolk County Police Department’s 2nd Precinct in the wake of three separate shootings that occurred in less than a month.

Deputy Inspector William Read assured community members gathered at South Huntington Public Library on Wednesday, Aug. 13, that the police force is completely competent in its current size, but residents were not convinced.

“We want to ask for outside help,” Jim McGoldrick, a Huntington Station resident said. “We can’t go on this way, our kids are being shot at.”

Luis Hernandez, 21, Aaron Jolly, 18, and Nelson Hernandez, 22, all survived shootings in the Huntington Station and Greenlawn area in late July and August. Luis Hernandez and Jolly both suffered from gunshot wounds to their legs, and Nelson Hernandez was shot in the back.

“What we’re doing is working, our program is effective, and crime stats are down dramatically,” Read said. “We are having success, but it can’t be 100 percent.”

The police associate many of the recent problems in the area with gangs, and Read said that gang cops have been out undercover investigating these cases constantly. He said there are a number of social programs combatting gang issues as well.

But the crowd argued that not enough is being done, and that more problems are arising.

Lisa MacKenzie, a Huntington resident, asked what the police are doing about the ongoing problem of intoxicated individuals passing out in the streets in Huntington Station.

“Why are these individuals taken to the hospital and not arrested?”

Officer Angela Ferrara explained that it is always the duty of the police and the standard procedure to treat someone medically first. She also noted that this has become a concern in many different areas in Huntington.

“What if I am on Depot Road in the future and hit [someone] who is intoxicated and attempting to cross the street, who will actually get in trouble then?” MacKenzie said. “We need drunk crossing signs, instead of deer crossing signs.”

Residents also complained about the how 911 dispatchers handle calls. Several said in the past, dispatchers have told them to either leave their car or house to get closer to a scene.

“They had the nerve to tell me to flag down one of the patrol cars when I called, and to get out of my car…this is putting the public at risk,” Nicholas Wieland, of The Huntingtonian news website, said. “You guys have some homework to do with the 911 service.”

Robert Finnerty, a Huntington Station resident, brought his son to the meeting, and said he is now afraid to go outside.

“We have people in the street across from us saying ‘I will shoot you in the street, I will kill you,’ and it’s scaring my son,” Finnerty said. He said the residents yelling this are people living in single dwelling homes occupied by five different families.

“We have to go after the overcrowded houses,” McGoldrick said. “It’s not fair to the police officers and fire firefighters. One of the biggest problems is how housing is handled in this town.”

As members of the audience agreed housing is a town issue, not a police one, the tone changed toward a desire to see a change in leadership in Huntington Town. Councilwoman Susan Berland (D) and Councilman Gene Cook (R) were both present at the meeting, as well as Huntington Town Board candidate Jennifer Thompson, a member of the Northport-East Northport school board.

Despite the criticism throughout the night, the 2nd Precinct deputy inspector defended the department’s work.

“We’re covering all our sectors, we’ve been doing it for years,” he said.

County: 26 samples collected last month bring total up to 46 this year

Stock photo

Twenty-six mosquito samples and one bird have tested positive for the West Nile virus in various parts of Suffolk County, Dr. James L. Tomarken, the county’s health commissioner, announced on Friday.

The bird, an American crow, was collected on July 31 from Port Jefferson. All the mosquito samples that came back positive were collected on July 29, according to the county. Five of them were from West Babylon, four were from Farmingville and three were from Lindenhurst; as well as two samples each from Northport, East Northport, Huntington Station, Nesconset and Port Jefferson; and one sample each from Greenlawn, Selden, North Babylon and West Islip.

To date this year, 46 mosquito samples and four birds have tested positive for West Nile virus.

The virus was first detected in birds and mosquitoes in Suffolk County in 1999. It is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. No humans or horses have tested positive for West Nile virus in Suffolk this year.

While Dr. Tomarken said there’s no cause for alarm, he urged residents to take steps to reduce exposure to the virus.

Residents should eliminate stagnant water, where mosquitos breed. Popular breeding grounds include tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots, discarded tires, wading pools, wheelbarrows and birdbaths. In addition, residents can make sure their roof gutters are draining properly, clean debris from the edges of ponds and drain water from pool covers.

Minimize outdoor activities between dusk and dawn to avoid mosquito bites, make sure windows and doors have screens and wear clothing that covers you when outdoors for long periods of time, or when mosquitos are more active.

To report dead birds, which may indicate the presence of the virus, residents should call the county’s West Nile virus hotline at 631-787-2200 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Residents are encouraged to take a photograph of any bird in question.

To report mosquito problems or stagnant pools of water, call the vector control division at 631-852-4270.

For medical questions, call 631-854-0333.

File photo.

Gunshots rang out in the Huntington area twice over the weekend, leading police to find injured young men lying on the ground in separate but similar incidents.

The first shooting occurred early on Saturday morning in Huntington Station. The Suffolk County Police Department said at about 1:35 a.m., officers responded to West Hills Road and President Street after a 911 call reported the shooting. Those 2nd Precinct officers found 22-year-old local resident Nelson Hernandez lying on the sidewalk, a gunshot wound to his back.

Not even 24 hours later, just after midnight on Sunday, 2nd Precinct officers responded to Stuyvesant Street in Greenlawn, between Crown Avenue and Brand Drive, after another 911 call reporting a shooting. Police said they found 18-year-old Aaron Jolly, a Northport resident, lying in the street with a gunshot wound on his right leg.

Hernandez was in serious condition at Huntington Hospital, police said, and Jolly was treated and released from the same facility.

In both cases, police reported that the shooter was unknown. Hernandez was shot while walking on West Hills Road near President Street, and it was not clear whether there was a single shooter of multiple assailants. Jolly was reportedly standing in the street when he was shot by an unknown person.

Detectives from the SCPD’s 2nd Squad are investigating the two shootings. Anyone with information is asked to call them at 631-854-8252, or to call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 800-220-TIPS.

File photo.

A pedestrian was seriously hurt on Saturday night as he tried to cross New York Avenue in Huntington Station.

The Suffolk County Police Department said 20-year-old Antonio Molina was hit by a Jeep on the road, just north of East 18th Street, shortly before 11 p.m. and is now in serious condition at Stony Brook University Hospital.

The 2002 Jeep had been driving north on New York Avenue at the time of the crash, police said, and its 26-year-old driver was not hurt.

Both the pedestrian and the driver are Huntington Station residents.

Police impounded the Jeep for a safety check.

Detectives from the SCPD’s 2nd Squad are investigating the crash. Anyone with information is asked the call them at 631-854-8252.

File photo.

A pedestrian was seriously injured in Huntington Station on Wednesday night as he tried to cross Jericho Turnpike.

The Suffolk County Police Department said 15-year-old Carlos Veliz-Hernandez was trying to cross the busy turnpike in his hometown, just west of Melville Road, when he was hit by a 2008 BMW at 9:15 p.m.

Carlos was in serious condition at Stony Brook University Hospital, police said, while the BMW’s 56-year-old driver, a Huntington Station resident, was not hurt.

Police impounded the BMW for safety checks.

Detectives from the SCPD’s 2nd Squad are investigating the crash. Anyone with information is asked to call them at 631-854-8252.

Story last updated on July 22, at 3 p.m.

Officers discovered a young man lying in the street after he was shot in Huntington Station on Saturday night, July 18.

Suffolk County police responded to a call shortly after 8 p.m. on 11th Avenue, across from Clifford Court, where they found Luis Hernandez with a gunshot wound in his leg.

Police said Hernandez was standing in the street in front of his house when he was shot, and the shooter’s identity is still unknown. Police said Hernandez was in stable condition at Huntington Hospital.

However, Alexandra Zendrian, director of public relations for North Shore-LIJ Health System, said on Tuesday in a phone interview that no one by the name of Luis Hernandez was in their directory.

Attempts to contact Hernandez this week were unsuccessful.

The shooting happened mere blocks from Huntington Manor Fire Department’s annual fireman’s fair, where many residents of Huntington Station were enjoying a fireworks show.

“Another one of our children [is] being wounded, what is it going to take to stop this?” June Margolin, a founder of Huntington Matters Neighborhood Watch said on Monday. Huntington Matters Neighborhood Watch was founded in 2014 due to the number of young casualties the community had suffered in the past two years.

The organization aims to unite citizens and law enforcement to deter crime and make the community safer.

The Huntington Station community is still feeling the effects of violence against its youth. On Thursday, July 16, friends and family of 18-year-old Maggie Rosales, 25-year-old Danny Carbajal and 23-year-old Sarah Strobel gathered at Depot Road Park for a memorial ceremony dedicated to the three Huntington Station youths that fell victim to crimes over the last two years.

Rosales was found stabbed to death, on Lynch Street in Huntington Station last October. Carbajal was shot in the head in July 2014 outside his Huntington Station home. Strobel’s body was found off the side of a path in Froehlich Farm Nature Preserve in October 2013.

While police have charged Adam Saalfield of Huntington Station with Rosales’ murder, the other two victims have not yet seen justice, which is currently the same situation Hernandez is in.

“The police are working harder with us and I am looking forward to the new inspector at the 2nd Precinct, I hope there will be new ways to address this problem,” Margolin said. “But to me it doesn’t seem like this issue is slowing down.”

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