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Kings Park

Mount Sinai attack Russell Maher with a shot on goal in a home game against Kings Park April 12. Photo by Bill Landon

Kings Park boys lacrosse team was able to stay within striking distance with Mount Sinai through two quarters of play April 12, but the Mustangs exploded in the third quarter, scoring eight goals to put the game out of reach. Mount Sinai defeated the Kingsmen 14-5 at home to remain unbeaten at this midpoint of the season at 8-0 in division, 10-0 overall for second place behind Shoreham-Wading River.

Joey Spallina, the spark of the Mustang offense, split the pipes five times. Meanwhile Bobby Demeo found the back of the cage thrice and Brandon Ventarola and Russel Maher stuck it out with two goals apiece.

Vince D’Alto led the way for the Kingsmen with two goals while Alex Wenzler along with Jack Quaranto both scored as well. Kings Park keeper Christian Michaels had a busy day between the pipes grabbing 19 saves on the day.

Both teams were back in action April 16 where the Mustangs hosted Islip and the Kingsmen hit the road against Babylon. Mount Sinai will be taking the road to Sayville April 23 while Kings Park is hosting Kellenberg April 24. Game times are for 4 p.m. and 10 a.m. respectively.

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The Nally boys, pictured from left, Gene, Tom and John, will serve as grand marshals of the Kings Park's 2019 St. Patrick's Day parade. Photo from KP parade committee

By Kevin Matyi

Some would say the Nally family name is synonymous with Kings Park.

Tom Nally, who shares a name with his late father who died in 2017, said that his family has been deeply ingrained in Kings Park’s community. Both Tom and his father worked as teachers and coaches for Kings Park High School. His mother, Diane, worked for St. Joseph’s School of Religion. His brother, John, worked as a pharmacist at Genovese Drug Stores while Gene Nally went into local politics.

“It just feels like Kings Park is an extension of my family,” Tom Nally said.

It just feels like Kings Park is an extension of my family.”

— Tom Nally

The family has lived in the community for nearly 120 years, spanning six generations.

“This community has shown me what it means to care for your neighbors and to be there when they need you,” John Nally said. “This town has always been there for my family through good times and bad, and I am forever grateful.”

These contributions are part of why the Nally Boys, Tom, John and Gene, were selected as grand marshals for the 2019 Kings Park St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Together, the three brothers will lead a multitude of bands, floats and local organizations and businesses in marching along Main Street.

“Since the parade’s inception, the Nally family has been a staple in the parade, resplendent and enthusiastic in a pickup truck … emblazoned with the Nally Boys banner,” reads the parade’s website.

Both Tom and John Nally attributed the original concept of the truck and its banner to their father.

Tom Nally said one of his favorite memories of the past was seeing how excited his father would become while gathering items to decorate the truck.

“He was always figuring out ways to make more room in the back of the pickup truck to fit more family members,” he said.

His brother recalled the family’s first time preparing to take part in the Kings Park tradition.

“I remember when Tom [Sr.] first told us we would be in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade,” John Nally said. “He was all excited and worked hard to get the truck clean and had a banner made heralding our family’s roots in County Westmeath in Ireland.”

Each year, the number of Nally family and friends riding along the parade route in the pickup truck has continued to grow, turning it into a tradition. Upon being presented with their sashes at the Grand Marshal Ball in November, John Nally said he was filled with a sense of pride.

“Our Irish heritage has always been important to our family and to be singled out was extremely humbling,” he said.

Our Irish heritage has always been important to our family and to be singled out was extremely humbling.”

— John Nally

While the three brothers are often called the Nally Boys, John Nally said they would never forget their sister, Terri, who passed away in 2002.

“She was a very important member of our family and an integral part of the community,” he said.

John Nally said he knows that his father and sister will be with them in spirit as the three brothers take their places March 2.

“When we take our place in the front of the parade this year, I know Tom [Sr.] will be smiling down on us,” John Nally said. “He was the architect of this journey and to not have him with us will be extremely bittersweet. To have his son, Thomas, walk with us will ease the pain and we know Tom will be with us in spirit. Both he and my sister, Terri, would be extremely proud.”

The 2019 Kings Park’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade will step off March 2 at noon from the intersection of Lou Avenue and Pulaski Road at the Celtic Crossing bar.

Nissequogue River. File photo by Rita J. Egan

New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is calling for state police officers to investigate who is behind anti-Semitic graffiti discovered in Nissequogue River State Park.

A photo of the swastika discovered in Nissequogue River State Park. Photo from NYS PD

New York State police received a call Feb. 10 from a jogger who discovered a swastika and a hateful white supremacist slogan written in chalk along the bike path in Kings Park.

“This abhorrent act of hate is deeply disturbing, especially at a time of great division and in the wake of the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in this nation’s history,” Cuomo said.

The governor’s remarks referenced the shooting at The Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh in October 2018 that killed 11 people.

“The message is deeply troubling to those who live in Kings Park community and all those who continue the fight against hated,” state Sen. John Flanagan (R-Smithtown) said in a statement. “I want to make it clear that all elected officials and community leaders are united in saying that hateful symbols must never be tolerated and those responsible must and will be held accountable for their actions.

The state police’s Hate Crimes Unit is investigating the matter. Anyone who may have any information on the vandalism is asked to call 631-756-3300.

Julia Witzke. Photo from Witzke family

Kings Park students are asking their community to come dine together to help raise funds to help a classmate in the fight of her life.

Kings Park High School will be hosting a pasta fundraiser Jan. 31 for junior Julia Witzke, who has been diagnosed with leukemia. The event will feature karaoke, games and raffles in addition to food with all proceeds going to the Witzke family.

“When someone in Kings Park is in need of help people come out in droves,” Judy Bishop-Hart, a retired executive assistant of the district said. “We want them to know we are with them.”

“This means everything, words can’t describe how happy we are with the love Julia is receiving.”

— Denise Witzke

Bishop-Hart said fellow classmates of Witzke came up with the idea of hosting a fundraiser. They approached Bishop-Harts’s son, Jack Bishop, who currently works as a 12th-grade history teacher and others for help.

“The students went to him to see if they could plan something for Julia,” Bishop-Hart said. “They’ve put it upon themselves to make this happen.”

Witzke’s mother, Denise, said what the students and the community are doing warms her heart.

“This means everything, words can’t describe how happy we are with the love Julia is receiving,” she said.

Her mother said Witzke is currently unable to attend classes at the high school while receiving treatment. The Kings Park junior has also been disappointed about being unable to take part in typical coming-of-age events with her classmates.

“It has been hard for Julia since the diagnosis,” Denise Witzke said. “She misses being in school. — It is her junior year and she felt bad missing out on her junior prom. She was looking forward to getting her learners permit and taking drivers education classes with her friends.

Bishop-Hart wants the Witzke family to know that they have the support of the community.

“We are with them every step of the way,” she said.

In addition to the event, students and school staff members are signing a poster with personal messages for Witzke to let her know that she is in their thoughts.

The fundraiser will be held Jan. 31 from 5 to 8 p.m. in the cafeteria of Kings Park High School, which is located at 200 Route 25A in Kings Park. The cost is $10 per person with children under age 5 free.

Volunteers are still being sought to help ensure the event runs smoothly. Anyone with questions or who is willing to offer time or services can contact Bishop-Hart at 631-896-9597.

By Bill Landon

On paper,  Kings Park’s boys basketball team — while sitting at 10-1 in league — should’ve had an easy time against Rocky Point at 2-8 in league, but the Eagles had other ideas Jan. 24. Rocky Point led by 10 points after eight minutes in then took an 11-point lead into the locker room. The Kingsmen sit atop the League IV leaderboard for a reason, and they came out firing in the 3rd quarter outscoring the Eagles 16-7 tying the game twice in the final quarter.

Trailing by two, Kings Park co-captain Andrew Bianco went to the charity stripe then swished both to tie the game at 46 all. Rocky Point forward Gavin DaVanzo was then fouled, sending the junior to the line with 4.6 seconds left in regulation. DaVanzo made one shot but missed the other, and Kings Park inbounded the ball for the final play launching a desperate shot that missed its mark. The Eagles erupted in celebration clinching a 47-46 victory at home.

Rocky Point freshman Ryan Smith led his team in scoring with four field goals and a pair of triples for a team high 14 points. Junior Kyle Callahan followed with 12 while DaVanzo netted a total of 10.

Bianco sat atop the scoring chart for the Kingsmen hitting four field goals and banking nine from the line for a total of 17 points.

With five games left in the regular season, the Eagles retake the court Jan. 26 against West Babylon before playing at home Jan. 30 against Eastport-South Manor. Kings Park has landed solidly in the playoff picture and is also back in action Jan. 30 where they’ll host West Babylon. Both Jan. 30 games tip off at 5:45pm.

*This post was changed to amend Bianco and shots.

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Kings Park varsity girls volleyball showed its dominance on the court defeating No. 2-ranked Westhampton, 3-1, Nov. 8 to bring home the Suffolk County Class A championship title.

The Lady Kingsmen finished their regular 2018 season with a 10-2 record, earning them the No. 5 seed as they entered the season playoff.  Kings Park came in the underdog taking down Islip, before claiming victory over No.1-ranked East Hampton in the semi-finals Nov. 5 in order to advance to the county finals.

Kings Park came up short against Wantagh, 3-2, in the Long Island Championship match held Nov. 11 at Farmingdale State College.

Kings Park veteran Ernie Lanzer, on right, with his daughter, Claire, wrapped in his Quilt of Valor. Photo by Sara-Megan Walsh

Nearly 70 years later, a Kings Park resident has been recognized for his service in World War II for the first time.

At roughly 12:05 p.m. Oct. 19, former Setauket residents Linda and Larry Heinz presented U.S. Navy vet
Ernie Lanzer with a Quilt of Valor to honor his service to his country. Now 91 years old, Lanzer recounted his time in the service as he was wrapped in the 80-inch by 60-inch handmade blanket in the colors of red, white and blue.

Ernie Lanzer dressed in his U.S. Navy uniform circa World War II. Photo from Claire Lanzer

“That was a lifetime ago, it’s ancient history,” he said humbly. “I was only a kid when I went in, 17, maybe 18.”

Lanzer said he registered under the draft and been called to serve near the end of World War II. He recalled fondly his assignment to the U.S.S. Antietam, an Essex-class aircraft carrier, as first-class seaman with the title of aviation machinist mate. His ship was stationed in waters off China and Japan during the period of occupation following the war.

“It really got my life started with aircraft; I went from fixing propellers to working on F-105, a real modern-day jet bomber,” Lanzer said.

Upon leaving the U.S. Navy, he worked on various planes for Farmingdale-based Republic Aviation. In 1961, he would continue to build a legacy of service by joining Engine Company #2 of the Kings Park Fire Department. Lanzer rose up the ranks of the firehouse, serving as fire commissioner from 2000 to 2006.

While recognized by the Kings Park Fire Department for more than 50 years of service in 2010, Lanzer said he doesn’t remember ever being thanked for serving his country before.

“We consider it a privilege to honor you,” his certificate from the Quilts of Valor Foundation reads. “Though we may never know the extent of your sacrifice and services to protect and defend the United States of America, as an expression of gratitude we award you this Quilt of Valor.”

Ernie Lanzer’s Quilt of Valor as boxed up and shipped from former Setauket resident Linda Heinz. Photo by Sara-Megan Walsh

Heinz said she requested a quilt be made to recognize Lanzer for his legacy both of service to his country and community after she joined with the Quilts of Valor Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to “cover” all service members and veterans who are physically or psychologically wounded. It started in November 2003 when a quilt was presented to a young soldier from Minnesota who had lost his leg serving in Iraq, according to its website.

“It’s to give them comfort,” she said. “A handmade quilt will always give you comfort no matter who you are.”

Heinz is a member of a volunteer group that calls itself The Myrtle Beach Shore Birds, a group of quilters that has taken up the mission of the Quilts of Valor Foundation. Together, they presented 33 quilts to veterans at the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base July 3 and have made more than 1,400 such gifts since 2010.

There is no charge for a quilt and the organization openly accepts requests at www.qovf.org. The website also provides information for those willing to volunteer their time to make the quilts by supplying patterns and guidance.

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Kings Park Kingsmen varsity football dominated the field against West Babylon Eagles in a 30-0 shutout homecoming victory Oct. 6.

Quarterback Kevin Decker led his team to victory by throwing for 125 yards and one touchdown.  Senior tailback Vince D’Alto also played well with 12 carries for a total of 101 yards in the shutout.

The win brings the Kingsmen up in the Division III rankings to 3-1 for the 2018 season. Kings Park  will travel to take on Hauppauge Oct. 13 at 6 p.m.

Click through the gallery above to see photos of the shutout homecoming victory. 

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The Rocky Point School District came together under sunny skies to celebrate homecoming 2018 during the last weekend in September. Eagle fans of all ages lined the sidewalk in front of Rocky Point High School to cheer on those marching in the annual homecoming parade Sept. 29.

This year’s event was led by Rocky Point alumni, who were celebrating their 40th anniversary, and featured members of the marching band, cheerleading teams, colorful banners created by Frank J. Carasiti Elementary School and Joseph A. Edgar Intermediate School students and homecoming floats fashioned by each high school grade level. The floats and banners each followed this year’s theme of “Rocky Point honors our armed forces.”

Throughout homecoming weekend, members of the high school varsity and junior varsity teams competed in challenging games against some of the region’s top high schools. The celebratory event was capped off with the traditional juniors versus seniors powder puff game, which collected donations for organizations committed to fighting children’s cancer.

In the game, Kings Park defeated Rocky Point 41-14, dropping the Eagles to 1-4 this season.

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Smithtown town officials plan new parking lot for Kings Park

From left, Marc Mancini, Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone in the newly reconstructed Bellemeade Avenue Municipal Parking Lot. Photo by Kyle Barr

A newly remade Bellemeade Avenue Municipal Parking Lot in Smithtown has several local business owners excited. They hope it might not only attract more customers, but the floods that have ruined their properties in prior years will be a thing of the past.

“There was a big storm a couple years back and all of our stores got flooded,” Lisa Spica, the owner of Dance ‘N’ Things, said. “I have a lot of stuff on the floor, and merchandise got damaged, equipment got damaged. This new drainage is a beautiful thing.”

The parking lot, located off East Main Street, was once notorious for filling with water, at one point flooding the 13 businesses that it borders, business owners said. After several days of torrential rain earlier this month, Richard Daly, owner of RICHARD Salon, was happy to report he’s seen no hint of flooding.

Now, it’s great. There’s a lot of new parking spots. Clients are happy, and more importantly employees are happy.”

— Richard Daly

“When it flooded, we just got used to it — lived with it,” Daly said. “Now, it’s great. There’s a lot of new parking spots. Clients are happy, and more importantly employees are happy.”

The Town of Smithtown finished its $490,000 reconstruction of the parking lot in August, which increased the total number of parking spaces to 139 while adding new drainage and rustic lighting fixtures. Mike Petrina, the manager at Smithtown Running Company, said that the additional lighting was especially
important to him.

“Before there was hardly any lighting, so the new lighting makes it a lot safer at night,” Petrina said.

Smithtown’s elected officials have municipal parking on their minds. The town board voted unanimously Aug. 14 to enter a contract of sale to purchase two vacant lots off Pulaski Road for a price of $280,0000 from Flushing residents Matthew and Marguerite Lupoli.

“We finally brought the Queens resident to Smithtown — we purchased those lots and we’re going to make a new parking lot, similar to [Bellemeade], but with off-street parking to help the west end businesses that we have in Kings Park,” Supervisor Ed Wehrheim (R) said.

This parking lot was in disarray for many, many years, and hardly ever used. Certainly, this parking lot will be beneficial to these businesses.”

— Ed Wehrheim

The parking lot was closed for roughly a month before being reopened, according to East Main Street business owners, who said they felt  construction did not affect their businesses too much. Most are now happy to walk to their cars at the end of the day without dealing with flash flooding or worrying about their safety.

“I even have some younger girls working for me and taking out the garbage late at night, sometimes we would just wait until morning because nobody wanted to,” said Erin Kahnis, the owner of DIY artistic signs store AR Workshop. “It’s much better now.”

Wehrheim said the town plans to install additional lighting fixtures and finish landscaping the gardens in the lot’s center island and along its eastern edge during the next six weeks.

“This parking lot was in disarray for many, many years, and hardly ever used,” the supervisor said. “Certainly, this parking lot will be beneficial to these businesses.”

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