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Julianne Cuba

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Amanda Stein’s refurbished home décor shop opens

Amanda Stein, owner of reLove in Miller Place. Photo from Amanda Stein

By Julianne Cuba

Miller Place is getting some extra love this spring with the opening of Long Island native Amanda Stein’s reLove shop and paint boutique.

The reLove shop in Miller Place. Photo from Amanda Stein
The reLove shop in Miller Place. Photo from Amanda Stein

The store, located at 87 North Country Road in Miller Place, held its grand opening on April 11 and features Stein’s own refurbished and painted furniture, along with home décor and homemade jewelry from other local artists, as well as CeCe Caldwell’s Paints, an eco-friendly line of natural chalk and clay paints.

Miller Place residents may recognize Stein’s work from Facebook, as the wife and mother, started posting pictures of her original furniture and custom-painted signs on the social media site about a year ago.

Stein, who has lived in Miller Place for about a year and a half, said her love of interior design stems from her grandmother, who collected antiques, and that she began painting furniture after she moved out of her parents’ house.

After leaving her career in real estate to look after her two children — Ella, 5, and Adam Jr., 4 — Stein said she wanted to take her passion and turn it into a business.

“It was one year ago that I started reLove from my house as a stay at home mom,” she said. “I always painted furniture for years and years, and all my friends kept telling me I should sell it. So I started with a Facebook page. It was literally overnight [that] it took off.”

Stein said she started the page with just seven pieces of furniture, but that number quickly grew as she began marketing all over social media.

Inside reLove in Miller Place. Photo from Amanda Stein
Inside reLove in Miller Place. Photo from Amanda Stein

Within a few months, Stein said she was getting booked with custom jobs and selling out of her furniture and signs.

“I did all of this from my two-car garage,” she added in an email.

reLove’s grand opening was jam-packed the whole weekend, Stein said. The store was supposed to close at 7 p.m., but people were still coming in until after 7:30 p.m.

“The opening was absolutely amazing,” she said.

For its opening weekend, reLove offered free paint samples to everyone who came in and a $50 dollar raffle for the store.

“A couple of people took the [paint] samples home and they immediately painted a piece of furniture with it and sent me pictures of the furniture they painted, which was very cool,” Stein said.

A piece of custom painted furniture for sale at the reLove shop in Miller Place. Photo from Amanda Stein
A piece of custom painted furniture for sale at the reLove shop in Miller Place. Photo from Amanda Stein

Dolores Spyowicz, of Country Charm in NYC, who has items for sale at the shop, said she met Stein through a painting group on Facebook and the two became good friends. She said reLove’s owner is a hard worker with a “beautiful vision.”

“I thought that being in a store in such a wonderful, beautiful neighborhood, my pieces would get more attention, and I’d be helping her out as well,” Spyowicz said. “I just thought it would be a wonderful opportunity.”

In addition to being a “one-stop-shop” for customers who paint and refurnish furniture, Stein said reLove will host several workshops — from painting basics to parent and child craft nights to bride nights out.

Stein also said reLove will maintain an eco-friendly and socially responsible business.

“It’s all eco-friendly,” she said. “The paint line that I sell, there are absolutely no chemicals in the paint.”

Stein said she’s thrilled to be following her dream as a business owner in beautiful and historic Miller Place.

“It’s been a wonderful thing because I’ve had a lot of positive feedback.”

Erin Henderson training for inaugural Suffolk County race

By Julianne Cuba

Erin Henderson runs in the Tallahassee Marathon in which she finished third. Photo from Henderson
Erin Henderson runs in the Tallahassee Marathon in which she finished third. Photo from Henderson

Each morning before caring for her 12 children, Long Island native Erin Henderson sets out for her daily run, which can cover anywhere from 10 to 20-plus miles. These days, part of Henderson’s training includes preparing for Suffolk County’s inaugural marathon on Sept. 13, 2015.

“Every marathon means a lot to me because they all represent weeks and months of hard training, commitment and dedication,” she said. “Getting to race through my home town and having friends and family there will make it that much more special.”

Henderson, who grew up in Selden, moved to Afton, Wyoming, with her husband, Josh, and their three biological sons in 2000.

Two years after settling in Afton, the Henderson clan began growing. Since 2002, Henderson and her husband have adopted nine children —  five girls and four boys. Three of the kids were “older child adoptions” and five were “special needs adoptions.”

Today, the Hendersons’ perfect dozen includes Mercades, 19; Nathan, 18; Ryan, 17; Destinee, 17; Shane, 15; Benjamin, 14; Maggie, 13; Amanda, 13; Marcus, 11; Belane, 11; Solomon, 9; and Noah, 6.

A horseback riding accident left Henderson unable to have any more kids. But with three boys the couple decided to adopt because they wanted a girl.

The Henderson family. Photo from Erin Henderson
The Henderson family. Photo from Erin Henderson

“Our motivation was all pretty much what we wanted, and then when we got over [to Vietnam] we saw so many kids who didn’t have families, and it kind of flip-flopped,” she said. “And it’s cliché to say it’s life changing, but it just was, to see all these kids without parents. We never set out to have 12 kids; it was all one at a time. We just saw a kid that was waiting and they were meant to be with us.”

The Hendersons’ youngest child, Noah, is from Ethiopia and has cerebral palsy. When Noah first joined the family at nine months old, the Hendersons were told he would never sit up on his own.

“He’s a miracle … now he climbs, and goes to school and doing really well,” she said. “He gets into everything. He knows some words and he does some science.”

When she’s not spending time with family, Henderson is either training for marathons herself or training others as a Road Runners Club of America certified running coach and a USA Track & Field certified coach.

Erin Henderson and her husband, Josh. Photo from Henderson
Erin Henderson and her husband, Josh. Photo from Henderson

Henderson, who just turned 38, said she went for her first run in April of 2009 after realizing she needed to start taking care of her own body. It started with a Wii Fit the family received as a Christmas gift from her husband’s sister in December 2008, she said.

“I knew I was overweight at that point,” she said. “The first time you use it, it makes a cartoon character of you, and it inflates or deflates your character. It literally like blew up; it said I was obese. For some reason, just seeing that on screen, I thought, ‘OK enough. It’s time to do something about it.’”

Henderson said she used the Wii Fit for about four months before heading outdoors to run. Just about a year and a half after that, Henderson ran her first marathon in December 2010. She has now completed 17 marathons, including ones in Boston, New York City, Las Vegas, Walt Disney World and Hartford. And she’s certainly not done yet.

Henderson’s running coach, Ray Nelson, is from Cranston, Rhode Island. He’s been coaching Henderson for just over a year now, and the two communicate mainly via phone and email and sometimes in person before races if their schedules allow it.

“She is an extremely hard worker, very diligent in her training and willing to make sacrifices to try to get in her best shape possible but at the same time without shortchanging any of her family. She definitely has her hands full,” Nelson said.

Erin Henderson will run in the first Suffolk County marathon. Photo from Henderson
Erin Henderson will run in the first Suffolk County marathon. Photo from Henderson

Henderson’s husband, a graphic designer and Wyoming native, said supporting each other enriches their relationship, and he can’t imagine his life now without his family.

“Most people don’t set out to do what they think is impossible,” he said.  “My wife is different — she dives right in. She goes in and gets it.”

He also added that he was always a football player growing up, never a runner, but through supporting and running with his wife he was able to run the NYC marathon last year.

“I wouldn’t have ran that marathon had it not been for my wife running,” he said. “I would never have said to myself, ‘you know what? I think I’ll train for a marathon.’”

Henderson said a few of her accomplishments include winning a half marathon, qualifying for the Boston Marathon and taking third overall in the Tallahassee Marathon.

But Henderson’s greatest accomplishments in life all involve her family, she said.

To follow Erin’s journey, visit her blog at www.seemomrunfar.blogspot.com.  To find out more about the Suffolk County Marathon visit www.suffolkmarathon.com.

The Noah Hallock house dates back to the early 1700s. File photo

By Julianne Cuba

After being closed for the winter, tours have resumed at the Noah Hallock Homestead in Rocky Point, on Hallock Landing Road.

The Rocky Point Historical Society acquired the property two years ago. Noah Hallock built the homestead in 1721 and eight generations of his descendants lived in the house until 1964, said Natalie Aurucci-Stiefel, president of the historical society.

Noah and his wife, Bethia, had three sons: Noah II, Josiah and William. All three sons were born in the house their father built and served in the military as Patriots during the Revolutionary War.

The elder Noah, who died in 1773 at age 77, was buried beside his wife, who died in 1766, in the family’s cemetery, located on a hill behind the homestead. Bethia’s grave is the oldest in the Hallock family cemetery.

In 1964, another local family purchased the home, and lived there for almost 50 years.

Today, the homestead operates as a showcase and a museum of Rocky Point’s history. The tours, which are offered at 172 Hallock Landing Road on Saturdays from April through December, 1 to 3 p.m., showcase 15 rooms with information from the 1700s through the 20th century. One of the rooms focuses on radio history, Aurucci-Stiefel said.

The famed RCA Corporation, headed by David Sarnoff and based in New York City, had a radio transmitting station in the hamlet.

“We’re proud to feature Rocky Point’s history in this house,” Aurucci-Stiefel said. “Each room features original artifacts and photograph collections.”

Amy Siebert, of Shirley, takes in the tulips at last year’s festival. File photo by Rohma Abbas

By Julianne Cuba

On Sunday, May 3, the 15th Annual Huntington Tulip Festival will take place in Heckscher Park in Huntington.

Founded by Councilman Mark Cuthbertson (D) and organized by the Town of Huntington, with chief festival sponsorship support from Astoria Bank, the tulip festival will be home to children’s activity booths, art exhibits and live performances. The festival will begin at 11 a.m., rain or shine.

“It’s a small-scale, family-oriented festival that really helps mark the beginning of spring with the blossoming of about 5,000 tulip bulbs,” Cuthbertson said in a phone interview this week.

Presented by the Huntington Arts Council, live performances will begin on the Chapin Rainbow Stage at noon. The Gizmo Guys will take the stage first, with a humor-filled performance appropriate for all ages, according to a town press release.

The Shinnecock American Indian Dancers will take the stage at 1:30 p.m., with a 45-minute dance presentation that will include audience participation. At 2:15 p.m., the Shinnecock American Indian Dancers will lead the re-enactment of the children’s parade that followed the 1920 dedication of Heckscher Park. It will include a new Tulip Festival Hat Contest for children and adults.

Paul Helou, an award-winning songwriter, actor and journalist, will be the final performer on the Chapin Rainbow Stage, at 3 p.m. Helou “performs a [blend] of bluegrass, Americana, roots and folk music for children that are high-energy, interactive events with quality original songs,” according to the press release.

On the same day, the 31st Annual Sheep to Shawl Festival presented by the Huntington Historical Society will take place at the historic Dr. Daniel W. Kissam House Museum and Barn. A free shuttle bus will transport visitors between the festivals.

Music, food and games at SPARKBOOM event on Saturday

Wantagh native AJ Estrada strums a tune from his latest project, ‘Archibelle.’ Estrada will be performing at an event in Huntington on Saturday. Photo from AJ Estrada

By Julianne Cuba

On Saturday, a LaunchPad Huntington on Main Street will be home to an event that merges art, music, food and games, all while showcasing Long Island talent.

The event, called “ART BYTES: A Special #ARTNTECH Event,” is the brainchild of LaunchPad Huntington, a business accelerator and event space on Main Street in Huntington, Long Island Visual Professionals and SPARKBOOM, a project of the Huntington Arts Council that aims to support Long Island artists.

Raj Tawney, who is head of public relations & media for SPARKBOOM, said the program has hosted dozens of events since its first in 2013. Saturday’s event is expected to attract at least a few hundred people — but more than expected always seem to show up.

“The program exists because we felt there wasn’t enough opportunity for Generation Y and millennials in regards to emerging creative talent in Long Island,” Tawney said. “So, we developed this program give opportunity to younger artistic types in the area, so they don’t feel like they need to run to Manhattan to seek opportunity.”

One ART BYTES artist is AJ Estrada, a jack-of-all-trades. Estrada — a native of Wantagh — sings, plays the guitar and paints digitally. Estrada will be singing and performing songs from his new project, “Archibelle.” And his artwork will be on display in the featured artist gallery.

“I think this event, and SPARKBOOM, in general, has done a tremendous amount of work in curating and bringing together creatives from all over Long Island,” Estrada said. “They’re truly an outstanding group of people.”

Alexa Dexa, a Lindenhurst native who takes the name Dexa after her paternal grandmother, will also be performing at ART BYTES. Dexa, who is a 2011 graduate of Berklee College of Music, will be performing selections from her upcoming album, “Year of Abandon,” which, according to Dexa, is a collection of “toychestral” electronic pop songs concentrated on the meanings of the word “abandon.”

Accompanying Dexa’s own voice will be her toy piano, pitched desk bells and electronic beats she handcrafts.

“Any event that supports and showcases local music and musicians in their local neighborhoods is doing a great service to the arts community and the general public,” Dexa said. “Events like this absolutely strengthen the cultural validity of Long Island and certainly keep me from straying too far for too long while on tour.”

The event is free, with a $5 suggestion donation. It will take place at LaunchPad Huntington, at 315 Main Street on the second floor.

By Julianne Cuba

Peaches Rodriguez, a break dancing pioneer, stand-up comedian and East Northport resident who broke into stardom after her role in the 1984 film, “Beat Street,” is the unlikely doppelgänger of a well-known French politician.

Comedian and dancer Peaches Rodriguez, above, is enjoying a new level of intercontinental fame, thanks to her resemblance to French politician Marine Le Pen. Photo from Peaches Rodriguez
Comic and dancer Peaches Rodriguez, above, is enjoying a new level of fame, thanks to her resemblance to French politician Marine Le Pen. Photo from Rodriguez

After a break dancing competition in Queens last month, Abdel Karim, who is a hip-hop choreographer and a friend of a friend of Rodriguez on Facebook, created a video meme of Rodriguez break dancing with the suggestion that it was actually Marine Le Pen, the popular nationalistic politician, dancing just after local elections in France.

Because of its extreme absurdity, the video went viral in France, with nearly 300,000 views on Facebook. That video, along with a second video of Rodriguez and a few other break-dancers, also went viral in the United States, with more than 100,000 hits.

“It’s always good to get exposure no matter how you get it,” Rodriguez said in a phone interview this week. “You can’t control something that goes viral. And you have to take it as it comes. It’s almost so random you just have to roll with it and enjoy it as it happens … the views are continuing to go up.”

It’s as if there was a video of a Hillary Clinton look-alike break dancing after an election, Rodriguez suggested for comparison — because that’s exactly what happened, she said.

Comedian and dancer Peaches Rodriguez is enjoying a new level of intercontinental fame, thanks to her resemblance to French politician Marine Le Pen, above. Photo by Rémi Noyon, through Flickr Creative Commons license
A video of Peaches Rodriguez has gone viral, due to her resemblance to French politician Marine Le Pen, above. Photo by Rémi Noyon, through Flickr Creative Commons license

In the 1980s, after moving from Connecticut to New York with the hopes of beginning a career in comedy, Rodriguez said she got into break dancing after realizing how good she actually was at that style of dance.

Today, Rodriguez still does both — stand-up comedy and break dancing. But her main job is a traveling comedian in the tristate area, she said.

“I break-dance part time, they have battles and events,” she said. “It’s a cool underground scene.”

Rodriguez also spends her time mentoring young, novice dancers in the industry.

Due to her new intercontinental fame, Rodriguez said she has a few gigs already lined up in the U.S.
Rodriguez added that if Clinton wins the 2016 presidential election, she would not hesitate to dress up like the former U.S. secretary of state and bust a move or two.

Part of Andrea Drive in East Setauket needs to be repaired as of Tuesday. Photo by Elana Glowatz

By Julianne Cuba

Following another devastating winter on Long Island, Brookhaven Town is receiving a little boost from the New York State Department of Transportation’s Extreme Winter Recovery fund for the year 2015-16, Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro (R) has announced.

The Highway Department will receive more than $501,000, while last year it received more than $400,000 in recovery funds in order to improve Brookhaven’s infrastructure. Prior to 2014, the town had not received any additional funding recovery funds for road damage.

“I want to thank the Long Island delegation for working with me on securing this desperately-needed funding for Brookhaven,” Losquadro said in a press release. “The past two winters have been historically harsh and wreaked havoc on town roadways. The more funding we receive, the more roads we can pave.”

Part of Pleasant Drive in East Setauket needs to be repaired as of Tuesday. Photo by Elana Glowatz
Part of Pleasant Drive in East Setauket needs to be repaired as of Tuesday. Photo by Elana Glowatz

In a phone interview, Losquadro said he is continuing to look for other sources of revenue from all levels of government in order to offset the cost to local taxpayers, whether in grants or funding from the federal government.

“There’s easily five times the amount of work that needs to be done that I have money for … maybe even six or seven times,” he said.

Within the next week — hopefully by April 15 — Losquadro said he hopes the resurfacing of the roads will start, weather permitting. Like last year, the work will likely continue right up until November, he said.

For the past two years, Losquadro said the town has been able to repair about 60 miles of roadway each year.

“I’m hoping to be able to match that, if not surpass that, this year,” he said. “If we’re able to get a little extra money from New York State like we did last year, every dollar we get is another roadway I can do.”

Losquadro said “it’s not dollar to dollar,” and if he can get assistance in paying for other projects that the Highway Department would have otherwise had to fund, then he could repurpose that money for roadway paving.

He referenced the traffic safety grant, which had been awarded for North Country Road in Miller Place, as an example of money that will now be free to allocate for repaving elsewhere in the town.

“That [grant] money will allow us to redo that section of roadway, a lot of the work we would have had to do there will now be covered by that grant,” he said. “That’s an award that’s already been awarded. We are seeking grants on all levels. We are looking for sources from revenue and assistance from everywhere we can.”

Losquadro said that advocating for additional funds for the resurfacing of roads is generally not normal, but there is just not enough money in the budget.

“While we were certainly not happy to see another severe winter, I am happy that we’re able to provide additional funding. State representatives listened to myself and other highway superintendents and were able to secure additional funding again this year,” he said.

East Northport man was also a firefighter and veteran

Elaine and Salvatore ‘Sam’ Macedonio Sr., on vacation in Italy last year. Photos from Mark Macedonio

By Julianne Cuba

East Northport firefighter, veteran and retired police officer Salvatore “Sam” Macedonio Sr., a former member of what was once the Town of Huntington Police Department, died from complications with lung cancer earlier this month. He was 87.

Macedonio, survived by his wife, Elaine, and his children, Gary Macedonio, Mark J. Macedonio, Lisa M. Macedonio Olofson and Salvatore Macedonio Jr., had served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II.

Following his military service, Macedonio joined the Town of Huntington Police Department as a patrolman in 1954. When the department merged into the Suffolk County Police Department in 1960, Macedonio was one of its first members.

Mark Macedonio said his father was loved very much and he will be sorely missed.

“He knew everybody in the Town of Huntington and everybody knew him,” he said. “He was a very well-known fellow. From his early days growing up in Huntington until the very end, he was a very approachable, kind, person. He was a great listener and peacemaker.”

Macedonio retired from the 2nd Precinct of the Suffolk County Police Department as a senior patrolman in 1973. Since his retirement from the police force, Macedonio had co-founded Vor-Mac Auto Collision Inc. in Greenlawn, which he co-owned with his wife for more than 20 years. During that time, he was also a volunteer firefighter at the East Northport Fire Department for more than 40 years; and he was active for more than 20 of those years.

Sam Macedonio in 2011, at the national World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. Photo from Mark Macedonio
Sam Macedonio in 2011, at the national World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. Photo from Mark Macedonio

Following in her father’s footsteps, Macedonio Olofson — along with her husband, Brian, and their two daughters, Katherine and Nicole — joined the East Northport Fire Department as volunteers.

Macedonio Olofson, an EMT and lieutenant of the rescue squad, is also a school nurse at the Norwood Avenue Elementary School in Northport.

“He always taught us to give back to the community and that’s what I’m doing,” she said. “I volunteer all my free time to give back to the community.”

As the middle child in a family of 13 children, family always came first to Macedonio, his daughter said.

Born in Locust Valley on March 11, 1927, Macedonio was forced to quit high school to work on his parent’s farm — Cedar Hill Farm in East Northport — in the midst of the Great Depression. Macedonio was able to receive his high school diploma following his military service.

Henry Johnson, an 86-year-old Huntington Station resident, had worked on the Town of Huntington Police Department the same years Macedonio did.

“I just about never worked with him, but he had a good reputation, he was a hard worker and he was a good police officer,” Johnson said.

As a patrolman, Macedonio led a very distinguished career, his daughter said; he had been issued many commendations, including for bravery, meritorious service and outstanding performance of duty, as well as two heroic life-saving events in the early 1960s, Olofson recalls.

“He was widely known to many Huntington Township residents as a result of his active life, service to the community, humility and great love of all people,” she said.

Former Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer sang Macedonio’s praises in an email statement, calling the East Northport man “a special kind of person” who was a “master of verbal judo” and could defuse volatile situations.

“He had no ego issues and brought a steadying and calm influence to his police duties,” Dormer said. “He loved the police department and when we would run into each other over the years, he would always bring up his days serving the people of Huntington Township and Suffolk County. He was so proud to be a cop.”