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Library

Christopher Elgut photo from SCPD

A Huntington man was allegedly inappropriate with an 8-year-old who was visiting the library with her mother on Sunday.

The Suffolk County Police Department said Christopher Elgut picked up the little girl, who was standing behind her mom at the Huntington Public Library counter, and put her down behind a column, then touched her inappropriately.

The girl screamed, police said, prompting Elgut to flee on foot.

Police broadcasted a description of the suspect after the 4:30 p.m. incident, and patrol officers from the 2nd Precinct located Elgut about 20 minutes later not far from the library.

Elgut, 28, was charged with first-degree sex abuse, endangering the welfare of a child and criminal possession of marijuana.

Attorney information for the suspect was not immediately available. He was scheduled to be arraigned on Monday.

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The Smithtown Library. File photo by Rachel Shapiro

Smithtown Library patrons will hit the polls this week as they mull over the 2016 budget as well as two trustee positions.

The library unveiled the $14,143,257 2016 proposed budget earlier this year, calling for an estimated $4.93, or 1.22 percent, increase in the tax levy. Two incumbent trustees are seeking re-election in this year’s vote, including the library board’s president. The budget and trustee votes are scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 13, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The largest portion of the budget is going toward salaries and employment benefits, totaling approximately $10 million dollars. Library materials and programs come in second, with a total of $733,800. The most expensive materials cost is for books, and the second is for online materials.

Incumbents John Martins and Suzanne Mohr will be on the ballot for re-election to the library’s board of trustees.

Martins, president of the board, has been a resident of Nesconset for more than 30 years, and has been a volunteer at the Nesconset Fire Department for the last 13 year. Currently, he is 1st assistant chief. He works as a project manager for Alpine Software Inc.

In Martin’s statement on the Smithtown Library website, he said he is excited about the new changes happening to the library, and he would like to play an active role in those changes. He also wants to make sure the library offers the best available materials and resources to its residents.

“I would also like to see the Library stay on the cutting edge of technology and programming,” Martins said online. “If elected, I will make sure we hold a tight line on the budget during these hard economic times, while still providing outstanding service to the community.”

Mohr is a Smithtown resident, and president of Advanced Marketing Development. In her statement on Smithtown’s Library website, she said her first priority is to advocate for funding so that the library can continue to provide top-notch programs and services to the community.

“I would like to continue working with fellow trustees to improve and seek out the best library programs and to expand on our cultural and recreational offerings, making The Smithtown Library district a premier community resource center,” Mohr said online.

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Emma S. Clark Memorial Library. File photo by Michael Ruiz

Setauket’s own Emma S. Clark Memorial Library is making strides to save money just in time for budget season.

The library announced this week it would be migrating its catalog system to be part of the Partnership of Automated Libraries in Suffolk, which runs library services with 49 other libraries across the county. The shared product, according to library Director Ted Gutmann, should increase efficiency and ease of use for both patrons and library employees while also saving money.

“The cost of ongoing maintenance is going to be shared across 50 libraries,” he said. “It makes a lot of sense for us to join this network.”

A spokeswoman for the library said patrons will now be able to create their own usernames rather than remembering long library card barcode numbers and will also have the option to pay fines online and receive text alerts.

“It will be much faster to borrow items from other Suffolk County libraries,” the spokeswoman said in a statement. “In just one click, the request is automatically put into other libraries, without the patron having to specifically request an interlibrary loan. The item is then delivered to Emma Clark Library for pickup or can be delivered to other Suffolk libraries as well.”

The cost-saving move comes just in time for the Sept. 16 budget vote at the library, which projected a 0.30 percent change in the tax levy from $5,177,684 last year to $5,192,968 this year. The proposed 2016 library budget saw an increase in employee salary expenditures and material and program expenditures, but a slight decline in costs related to mandated benefits, building and operations funding and estimated income.

Voting on the 2016 library budget is scheduled for Sept. 16 at the library from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the periodical room.

The new system is also more cost effective, both up front and ongoing, the spokeswoman said. The move to PALS should result in an annual 61 percent savings for the library catalog operation costs and will help the library in complying with the New York State tax freeze program. Under the tax freeze program, New York State requires shared services in order to reduce costs and save money — under the tax relief program, if the library complies with the tax cap and shows cost savings through shared resources, qualifying homeowners are reimbursed for increases in their local property taxes on their primary residences.

It is also important to note that during this migration, from Sept. 16 to Nov. 2, patrons will not be able to use the online catalog to request interlibrary loans. They will, however, be able to pick up books themselves at other libraries or they may contact our reference librarians who can place requests on the patron’s behalf. Starting in early November, when the new system is live online, interlibrary loan requests will resume. The library appreciates the understanding of the community — this small inconvenience while the catalog is under transition will lead to more improved services by November.

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Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone signs the county’s tobacco age law. File photo by Rohma Abbas

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Health Commissioner James Tomarken encouraged residents who use tobacco to break their addiction through the “Learn to Be Tobacco Free” program.

“We are promoting good health to all residents in Suffolk County,” Bellone said. “For those who are addicted to tobacco or nicotine products, we urge them to get the support they need to prevent illnesses that are caused by tobacco.”

Smithtown’s session was scheduled at Smithtown Public Library, 1 North Country Road on Mondays from 6 to 7 p.m. on Sept. 21, 28, Oct. 5, 19, 26 and Nov. 2.

The classes are free to Suffolk County residents, though there is a nominal fee for medication for medically eligible participants.

“Breaking an addiction to nicotine can be very difficult,” Tomarken said. “Studies have shown that smokers who try to quit smoking using a combination of behavioral support and medicine are three times more likely to be successful than those who try to stop smoking without support.”

The library is decorated with book recommendations and lists of readers’ personal heroes. Photo from Susan Guerin

A surgeon, parents, a brother, first responders, the Angels of Bataan — these are some people Comsewogue Public Library readers consider heroes.

Top summer reading titles

“The Girl on the Train,” by Paula Hawkins

“The Husband’s Secret,” by Liane Moriarty

“The Nightingale,” by Kristin Hannah

“The Museum of Extraordinary Things,” by Alice Hoffman

Scores of bookworms shared their own as they participated in the adult summer reading program, which encouraged the library patrons to read about superheroes or try something new through its “escape the ordinary” theme. Trying something new could be discovering an author or joining a library program. To facilitate that, Library Director Debra Engelhardt and adult services head Susan Guerin said, the library steered people toward its resources for finding books or learning online and hosted different programs like an arm-knitting workshop and a drum circle.

“It’s about bringing a lot of different and unique ideas,” Guerin said.

According to Engelhardt, about 350 people signed up for summer reading and, with the program coming to a close this weekend, many of those have completed it — reading at least three books of their choice and submitting recommendations for them. After finishing a book, the participants received a raffle ticket for a chance to win prizes from local businesses.

There were also matching superhero-themed summer reading programs for children and teenagers, which hundreds of young people have already completed.

Historic Hill Climb to be highlight of the weekend

Car 8, a 1909 Alco-6 racing car driven by Howard Kroplick of East Hills, followed by 1907 Fiat driven by Manny Dragone from Connecticut leads the pack at the last hill climb up West Broadway in 2010. Photo by Richard Solo

By Rita J. Egan

Port Jefferson Village will host its first Heritage Weekend Saturday, Aug. 22, and Sunday, Aug. 23. The event will give residents the opportunity to visit over 15 locations in the village, as well as Belle Terre, to learn about the stories behind the participating venues as well as the history of the village.

Jill Russell, public relations and marketing consultant for the village, said each location involved in the weekend has planned a variety of activities that celebrate the local culture, traditions, history and achievements.

“You’ll be invited to come in and learn a little bit of history about Port Jefferson. It’s really a phenomenal thing for families to come and do,” Russell said. The consultant said one of the featured events will be the Port Jefferson Fire Department, 115 Maple Place, opening its museum to the public. She said most people don’t even realize the museum exists unless their children have visited the firehouse on a school field trip.

Charlie Russo, assistant chief of the Port Jefferson Fire Department said, “The fire department has great history with the village.” The assistant chief explained that many of the members have followed in the footsteps of relatives and can trace their family’s involvement in the department for decades.

Russo said the museum will be open Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sunday 3 to 5 p.m. Among the items on display, visitors will find uniforms, helmets, tools and more equipment used by firefighters since Hook and Ladder Co. 1 was established in 1887. One of the featured items is a hand fire pump that once needed two firefighters to operate it.

Those heading over to the Port Jefferson Free Library, 100 Thompson Street, on Saturday will feel as if they are actually going back in time. Nikki Greenhalgh, who’s in charge of the library’s marketing and communications, said visitors will be able to enter the building through the original front doors, which are normally closed off. The former entrance leads into the front room, now known as the quiet room, which was the first library at the current location when it was built in 1925. Here library patrons will find no electronic devices and a historical reference desk.

The Port Jefferson Fire Deparment Museum will be open to the public this weekend. Photo by Richard Solo
The Port Jefferson Fire Deparment Museum will be open to the public this weekend. Photo by Richard Solo

“We just want to take everyone back in time and reiterate the history and how we still use that building as a quiet area,” Greenhalgh said.

The library is offering period-themed activities for kids such as paper dolls and hopscotch. While the children play, longtime employees, including Earlene O’Hare, who recently retired after 30 years, will be on hand to answer visitors’ questions about the history of the building.   

The library will also be exhibiting the work of Leon Foster Jones, a local artist of the early 1900s, in the front room. Greenhalgh said the library had acquired the artist’s sketchbook, and in addition to his original paintings scanned drawings of his will also be on display.

Nan Guzzetta, owner of Antique Costume & Prop Rental by Nan, 709 Main Street, encourages history buffs to stop by her store, which normally is open to potential customers by appointment only, and learn about the structure’s unique history. The store owner, who has been in business on Main Street for 20 years and 40 years in total, said the patio, garden and porch will be open and visitors can view the parlor. She said customers will get a peek at the historical Civil War era structure constructed by Captain Henry Hallock, who built many ships in Port Jefferson.   

The house known by many as the Chambers Mansion has not only sheltered those of local historical significance but also of musical importance. In the ‘70s the band Foghat took up residence there, and Guzzetta said the rock group transformed a stage that once existed in the home into an echo chamber. Not only did the band produce 12 gold records here, but they also would rent out rooms to other artists who would stay at the house and record. Musical greats such as Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen have been known to create albums at the mansion, and during Foghat’s heyday, the home was one of the foremost recording studios in the Northeast and became known as the Boogie Hotel in the area, according to Guzzetta.

The Drowned Meadow House, on the corner of West Broadway and Barnum Avenue, will also provide a look at interesting aspects of the village’s history. Port Jefferson Mayor Margot Garant said a letter will be on display of historical importance at the Revolutionary War era “post and beam” constructed home, which once housed spy ring members.

“The significance of discovering the revolutionary letter directly ties other Roe family members, and Drowned Meadow then and present day Port Jefferson, to George Washington’s Spy Ring. In particular the letter was sent to Loyalist Oliver Delancey and states Nathaniel Roe and Phillips Roe supplied intelligence to Caleb Brewster, and the Roe family harbored supplies in our very own Drowned Meadow,” Garant said. 

Russell said the culmination of the weekend will be the Port Jefferson Hill Climb, which will begin at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday. Spectators lined up on East Broadway can view 60 antique cars as they ascend a 2,000-foot climb to Belle Terre Road. After the climb, the automobiles will be part of a parade from Myrtle and Belle Terre Road down to Main Street, then to East Main and back to the Village Center.

This will be the sixth re-creation of the historic Hill Climb, which originally took place in 1910 and in the recent past has been recreated every five years on E. Broadway, according to the consultant. Russell said during the weekend, car and history buffs can stop by the Village Center, 101A East Broadway, where reproductions, as well as actual photographs of the original Hill Climb, on loan from the Detroit Public Library, are on display.

During Port Jefferson Heritage Weekend, residents will be able to utilize the Port Jefferson Jitney to travel from venue to venue if they wish. Most locations will be participating from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. For a complete list of participating venues and more information, visit www.portjeff.com.

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File photo by Michael Ruiz

The Emma Clark Library, located on Main Street in Setauket, is pleased to announce new video game collections for both the Children’s and Teen departments. Games for teens are coming in August, and the children’s games will be available this fall.

Video and computer game playing, when practiced in moderation, has many benefits. While kids are gaming, they are also learning how to collaborate in a team, strategize, explore, make decisions and take risks. The games help kids prepare for today’s fast-paced digital world. Video games can be fun and motivating, and along with books and traditional games, they are another method of educating our youth in the 21st century.

The library has ordered games for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii, Wii U, Xbox360, and Xbox One and will include popular titles such as “Splatoon,” “Just Dance 2015,” “Little Big Planet 3,” “Lego Jurassic World” and “Batman: Arkham Asylum.” Like movies, video games will circulate for one week and may be renewed as long as no one else has reserved the game. Patrons may also recommend games for the library to purchase; the library will be accepting suggestions for games rated T or lower.

The library also holds special “Minecraft,” Xbox, and Wii U programs throughout the year for both kids and teens in the Technology Center. All programs may be found in the printed newsletter or online at www.emmaclark.org/newsletters.

If you have any questions about the new video game collections, you may contact kids@emmaclark.org or teens@emmaclark.org.

File photo by Michael Ruiz

Emma Clark Library will keep its summer tradition alive as it hosts the third annual food drive for the entire month of July. Run by the Teen Services Department, volunteers will be collecting toiletries and nonperishable food items to be donated to various food pantries throughout the community.

The teens will help publicize the drive, sort the food and deliver it to the food pantries, a spokeswoman for the library said in an emailed statement.

Donations are very much appreciated, and anyone is welcome to bring in a contribution. Some suggestions for food items include cereal, peanut butter, jelly, canned fruits and vegetables, rice, beans, tuna fish, juice, pasta and pasta sauce.

The food pantries can also use diapers, wipes, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shaving cream, disposable razors, shampoo and conditioner.

Donation boxes will be located at the library, in the lobby to the left of the circulation desk, through July 31.

Last year, a total of 135 bags of food were collected, and the library said its teens hope to surpass that number this year with even more bags.

If you have any questions about the food drive or would like to become a teen volunteer, you may contact Nanette Feder, teen services librarian, at (631) 941-4080 ext. 116 or email her at teens@emmaclark.org.

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Residents will meet at the Kings Park branch at 8:30 a.m. on July 22. File photo by Rachel Shapiro

The Smithtown Library is hosting a bus trip to the Louis Armstrong House Museum and newly renovated Queens Museum of Art on Wednesday, July 22.

Lunch at Uno Pizzeria & Grill is included in the price of the trip, as are all museum admission fees and gratuities. Take a step back in time as you tour Louis Armstrong’s former home and then view the nostalgic Word’s Fair Collection at the Queens Museum of Art.

The bus leaves from the Kings Park Branch parking lot at 8:30 a.m. and will leave the Queens Museum of Art at approximately 5 p.m. to return home.

Anyone may register, regardless of library district, space permitting. Fee is $87 per person. Register online at www.smithlib.org or at any Smithtown Library building.

For more information, please contact Andrew Salomon at (631) 360-2480 x232.

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Stock photo

What if we told you that you could travel to Paris this summer? What if you could finally achieve your dream of becoming an astronaut? What if you had the opportunity to travel back in time to the 1890s or 1960s? Well, you can. Just pick up a book.

Some of our school districts already require students to read one or multiple books over the summer. We commend those districts and think others should follow suit and implement their own summer reading programs in the future.

Summer learning loss, or the summer slide, is real — but we can prevent it. This is more important than ever before as students are being held to a higher standard.

We’ve heard the argument from parents that summer break should be just that — a break — and mandating a child to read a book defeats that purpose. We disagree.

Instilling the value of reading into our lives and those of our children is important. Reading stirs the imagination, helps you think critically and makes you a lifelong learner.

While reading may be difficult for some kids and others may just not like it, there is a book for everybody — or at least an educational magazine — and there are so many places to find them.

Visit your local library to find summer reading programs for kids and adults. Go online and download an eBook. At the bare minimum, try out Audible and listen to an audiobook.

We urge everyone to turn off the video games, get off the computer and escape for a few minutes in the pages of a book. Relax — you will be OK and you may even find it fun.

In the time-honored tradition of required reading, we end with a quote from Betty Smith’s 1943 classic, “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.”

“The world was hers for the reading.”

May the world be yours this summer.