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From left, Ray Palen, Gabriella Stevens and Mikal Oltedal in a scene from ‘The Man Who Came To Dinner.’ Photo by Michael Leinoff

By Charles J. Morgan

In the sometimes arcane lexicon of the theatah there is the term “chestnut.” It simply refers to a good or actually immortal play that is done every season everywhere. It has long-standing universal appeal, and is audience friendly even when translated into Gheg, Tusk or Urdu. Such a play is George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart’s “The Man Who Came to Dinner,” currently playing at the Minstrel Players’ venue in Northport for a limited run.

Set in 1939, the script is literally flooded with references associated with that era …. Haile Selassie, John L. Lewis, “Bubu” (Mahatma Gandhi), Charles Ross and even Noel Coward with a fast-paced output, wise-cracking, display of humor.

Director Ray Palen starred as the impossibly rude Sheridan Whiteside, a cultured, scholarly writer, pundit and author. Homer described Odysseus as speaking “winged words.” Whiteside’s words are winged too … laden with nuclear warheads. He demolishes any opposition with piercing, barbed onslaughts. Palen discharged his role as Whiteside expertly, consistently — like a lovable Falstaff. He is very seldom offstage and manages the signature wheelchair right up to the edge of the apron.

Michelle Torres plays Maggie Cutler, Whiteside’s long-suffering but capable secretary. Torres handled this role with called-up on professional aplomb even in a scene where she “quits” her job. Here she is still underplaying it, but with steely, scarcely concealed anger.

The Minstrels’ dynamic veteran character actress Maris Kastan is Miss Preen, Whiteside’s nurse. She plays out the dutiful nurse like someone hit with a baseball bat, but can’t figure out what hit her. That is until she dramatically resigns with a downstage center speech about going to work in a munitions factory. Kastan, together with Palen, is an outstanding example of getting into the essence of a role, making the acting real.

Banjo, a true slapstick role, is managed neatly by Ralph Carideo. He really eats up the scenery, combining an earthy Rabelaisian Vaudeville humor, delivered with punch and verve. Then we have Alicia James as glamor girl movie star Lorraine Sheldon. She is in love with one person: herself. Every line and move is promotional of a solitary object named Lorraine. She is frivolous, sexy, with a virtual murder streak … all of it with a compelling smile. This is not an easy role, but James handled it with perfection.

A triple role was held by Brian Hartwig. He was the eccentric Professor Metz in topee, tropical jacket and spectacles who delivers a cockroach colony. (Yes, they do eventually escape.) He has a  bit part as Expressman, but bursts into a key role as Beverly Carlton, a knockoff of Noel Coward done to English accent languidity with all the sophistication Noel himself could have brought. Hartwig’s range of talent was palpable. One wishes to see him more on the Minstrels’ playbill.

Constraints of space preclude mention of others in this massive cast, however, Evan Donnellan stood out as Bert Jefferson, Tricia Ieronimo as Mrs. Stanley and Jim Connors as her long-suffering husband. A curtain call bow was taken by Valerie Rowe who undertook the role of Sara the Cook as a last-minute substitute. Well done!

The Minstrel Players may be a little cramped in their present venue, yet they have expanded smoothly with this show. One sees a massively bright future for them. Break a leg, Minstrels!

The Minstrel Players will present “The Man Who Came To Dinner” on May 2 at 8 p.m. and May 3 at 3 p.m. at the Houghton Hall Theatre at Trinity Episcopal Church, 130 Main St., Northport. Tickets are $20 adults, $15 seniors and children. For more information, call 631-732-2926 or visit www.minstrelplayers.org.

Lights out
Two men from Stony Brook were arrested in Stony Brook on April 13 and charged with first-degree burglary, using a dangerous instrument. According to police, the men, one a 23-year-old, and another, a 17-year-old, entered an Old Town Road home on March 29 at about 3 a.m., struck someone in the home in the head with a handgun and took money.

Lost time
A Stony Brook man reported to police on April 16 that his Rolex watch was stolen from Blueberry Lane in Stony Brook, sometime between Feb. 18 and Feb. 21. No arrests have been made.

Hospital heist
A woman reported to police on April 14 at about 1 p.m. that items were stolen from her purse while she was at Stony Brook University Hospital’s recovery room. No arrests have been made, and police couldn’t tell what was taken from the bag.

Nail [salon] cracked
Someone broke the glass door of Pro Nails on Main Street in Setauket-East Setauket and stole cash from the register, sometime around 7:30 p.m. on April 16.

Wallet woes
Police said a Poquott man reported that someone stole items from his wallet, which was left in a car that was unlocked and parked in the driveway of his Birchwood Avenue home. The incident was reported on April 16 at 9 p.m.

Feeling hot, hot, hot
Police said two men fled Walmart on Nesconset Highway in Setauket-East Setauket on March 15 at about 6:35 p.m. with lighters and condoms. They were confronted at the door and told staff they didn’t take anything. They fled on foot.

The Bicycle Thief
A bike was stolen from a Terryville Road residence in Port Jefferson Station on April 19 between 12:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Pocketed
An unknown person stole a purse from inside a Piedmont Drive home in Port Jefferson Station between April 17 and 19.

How charming
Two males got into an argument at a Charm City Drive residence in Port Jefferson Station on April 17. According to police, one of the men hit the other with a closed fist. It is unclear if the victim needed medical attention. No arrests have been made.

Missing
A wallet was stolen from a 2008 Volkswagen Jetta parked at Danfords Hotel & Marina on April 19 between 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.

Played
An unknown person stole a PlayStation and game from a North Country Road residence in Port Jefferson on April 14 between 2 a.m. and 10 a.m.

Still snowing?
An unknown person stole a snowblower from Agway in Mount Sinai at some point between April 18 and 19. According to police, the individual prised open a locked shed and removed the blower.

Sounding off
Two friends got into a spat on April 15 on Hallock Landing Road in Sound Beach. One man pushed the other.

Pod and pills
An unknown person stole an iPod and prescription pills from a 2010 Hyundai parked on Block Island Drive in Sound Beach on April 13 between 1:30 a.m. and 8 a.m.

Double the larceny
A 31-year-old Sound Beach man was arrested on April 14 on two petit larceny charges stemming from incidents in October and on Feb. 21 when he stole items from stores on the South Shore.

Rocking and rolling
An unknown person threw a rock at a truck’s windshield while it was parked on King Road in Rocky Point on April 18.

Cashing in
Cash, a cell phone and a debit card were stolen from a home on Broadway in Rocky Point at around 4 a.m. on April 15.

Moving you forward … to jail
A 28-year-old Bayport man was arrested in Centereach for criminal mischief after he damaged the windshield on a 2009 Toyota on April 19.

Binge watching
An unknown female left the Centereach Walmart on April 17 without paying for a flat screen television.

In a cell
Police arrested a 26-year-old man from Centereach on child pornography charges. According to police the man, who was arrested at his home on April 17, had the images on his cellphone.

Screen scene
A residence on Choate Avenue in Selden reported a screen had been damaged on April 19.

Wrecked
A 47-year-old female from Middle Island was arrested in Selden for leaving the scene of an incident. According to police, on April 17 at 11:05 p.m., while operating a 2010 Chevy, the woman was involved in a crash at Hawkins and Wireless roads. She then fled the scene.

Directions?
A GPS was among items stolen from a vehicle parked in a driveway on Glenwood Avenue in Miller Place on April 14 at approximately 6 p.m. A day earlier, personal papers were stolen from a Jeep parked on the same street.

Wrong department
Police arrested a 35-year-old Port Jefferson man on April 15 and charged him with second-degree harassment after he attempted to return stolen merchandise to Sears on Route 347. After employees questioned the man, he became belligerent, pushed a store manager and ran out of the store. He was arrested around noon.

Slap ‘n pepper
A 21-year-old from St. James was arrested in the Village of the Branch on April 17 and charged with second-degree harassment, physical contact. Police said he sprayed pepper spray into the face of another person on East Main Street at about 6:37 p.m. that day. He also slapped the victim in the face during a verbal argument. Police said the victim required medical attention.

Double-team punch
Two men were charged with second-degree harassment, physical contact, and arrested on April 13 in Smithtown. Police said a 32-year-old from Pikeville and a 31-year-old from Ocala were both charged with punching someone in the head on West Jericho Turnpike in Smithtown at about 11 p.m. that day.

Stolen jewels
A West Main Street jewelry store in Smithtown was burglarized on April 13 at about 2:12 a.m., police said. The front door was smashed and assorted jewelry was taken from L.I. Gold Mine, according to police.

Wiped out
A 55-year-old man from Smithtown was arrested in Smithtown on April 15 and charged with criminal mischief with intent to damage property. Police said that at about 9:15 a.m. that day he broke off the driver side windshield wiper arm of someone’s red Chevrolet Impala on Route 111 in Smithtown. He was arrested on Plaisted Avenue in Smithtown that day.

Assaulter caught
A 23-year-old Commack woman was arrested in Smithtown on April 13 and charged with assault with criminal negligence, causing injury with a weapon. Police said she punched a female in the head after an argument over prior issues on April 6 at 11:43 p.m., causing the woman to have a fractured nose. The incident occurred on Motor Parkway in Hauppauge, and the Commack woman was arrested at the precinct.

Package taken
Someone stole a package from an office building on West Jericho Turnpike at about 2 p.m. on April 13. The package included an employee’s credit card, which police said was later used.

Checks nabbed
Someone stole business checks from a car dealership on Middle Country Road in Nesconset and forged signatures on them. The incident was reported on April 18 and occurred sometime around 9 a.m. on Feb. 11.

Car break-in
Items from a 2012 Honda CRV parked at a 4th Avenue home in Kings Park were taken April 18. Police said an unknown person damaged the driver-side window and took a book bag, cash, credit card and driver’s license.

Identity stolen
A Saint James resident of Lake Avenue told police on April 18 that an unknown person used his identity to withdraw money from the bank on Jan. 26 at about 9 a.m.

Brutal beating
A 50-year-old St. James man and a 53-year-old Huntington man were arrested in Huntington on April 20 and charged with third-degree assault, with intent to cause physical injury. Police said the two grabbed a male victim and punched him in the face. The victim suffered a concussion, a broken nose and required stitches. The 50-year-old man was arrested on Stewart Avenue in Huntington, the 53-year-old was arrested on O’Hara Place in Huntington.

Knife threat
Police said a 16-year-old from Huntington Station was arrested in Huntington on April 17 and charged with fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, with intent to use it. Police said he got into an argument with a male on West Pulaski Road in Huntington Station on April 17 at about 9:20 p.m. and threatened the person with a knife.

Toothbrush, baby formula stolen
A 34-year-old Mastic Beach man was arrested in Huntington and charged with petit larceny on April 14. Police said the man entered a Rite Aid on West Jericho Turnpike in Huntington Station at about 8:03 p.m. on that day and took an electric toothbrush, replacement heads and baby formula.

Not-so-slick liquor thieves
Two women entered Angelina Liquors on Broadway in Huntington on April 20 and stole two bottles of liquor. Store staff told police the females went to the rear of the store and removed a bottle of tequila and went to another aisle and took a bottle of vodka.

Green Street punch
Someone was punched in the face in a parking lot on Green Street on April 19 at about 3 a.m. There are no arrests.

Beauty dash
Someone entered Sally Beauty Supply on New York Avenue in Huntington and fled with five assorted beauty items on April 16 at about 10:35 a.m.

Exclusive cream stolen
A woman pocketed a skin cream on display at L’Amour Spa on Fort Salonga Road in Northport on April 14 at 1:55 p.m. The product was an in-store trial-only sample.

Mowed down
An East Northport woman told police on April 13 that someone drove onto her 5th Avenue front lawn, causing damage sometime on April 12 at 11 p.m. There are no arrests.

Fill ’er up
A Cold Spring Harbor man told police he found his 2011 Chevrolet’s gas tank filled with salt. The incident occurred sometime at midnight on April 15 and the car was parked on Harbor Road.

Gold chain, meds stolen
A Centerport man told police he want for a walk on April 16 between 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. and didn’t lock the door to his Washington Drive home. Someone came in and stole a gold chain and medicine.

Stephen Waldenburg Jr. is running for Northport-East Northport school board next month. File photo by Rohma Abbas

With seven individuals in the running for three open seats, this year’s race for the Northport-East Northport school board vows to be a spirited contest.

From a 22-year-old Northport man looking to flex his political muscles to a 15-year veteran school board member vying for his sixth term, the slate spans a spectrum of backgrounds and candidates tout a range of experiences.

Tammie Topel is running for Northport-East Northport school board next month. Photo from the candidate
Tammie Topel is running for Northport-East Northport school board next month.
Photo from the candidate

“It’s going to be a party,” Stephen Waldenburg Jr., the long-serving board member who is seeking re-election said in a phone interview.

Three seats are open — those of board members David Badanes, James Maloney and Waldenburg.  Badanes and Waldenburg are running for re-election, while Maloney is not running, according to district clerk Beth Nystrom.

Other candidates running include former school board member Tammie Topel, Josh Muno, Peter Mainetti, David Stein and Michael “Bruno” Brunone.

In interviews this week, the candidates discussed issues including the Long Island Power Authority’s (LIPA) litigation challenging the value of the Northport power plant — a lawsuit that if settled unfavorably could mean double-digit percentage increases in taxes for district residents. Candidates also discussed the recent green-lighting of full-day kindergarten next year and the board’s recent budget decision to nix the district’s visual arts chairperson position in next year’s budget.

Stephen Waldenburg, Jr.
Waldenburg said he’s running for many reasons, but mainly to help newly appointed Superintendent Robert Banzer transition smoothly. Waldenburg has served on the board since 2000 and said he’s got some unfinished business, such as working on the LIPA litigation and ensuring the arts program isn’t impacted by the loss of the chairperson position. Waldenburg voiced opposition to the move. “I’m very concerned about that. I kind of want to be here to make certain the program isn’t allowed to diminish at all.”

Josh Muno is running for Northport-East Northport school board next month. Photo from the candidate
Josh Muno is running for Northport-East Northport school board next month.
Photo from the candidate

The veteran board member said he was instrumental in getting a robotics team established at the high school. He said he’s also got his eye on declining enrollments, which could prove to be “a very scary thing” for the district, particularly if buildings need to be closed.
Waldenburg works for American Technical Ceramic in Huntington Station as a customer service manager.

Tammie Topel
Former school board trustee Topel is looking to make a comeback.
The Northport resident, who was on the board up until last year, decided not to run again last year for personal and health reasons. If elected, she’d be interested in exploring cost savings in special education and working on the LIPA issue.
She said if she was on the school board she would have voted to axe the arts chairperson position as well, just based on numbers — most chairpeople at the district manage a department of 40 or so teachers, while the arts chairperson was managing a department of about 16 teachers, mostly veterans.
“My heart is really in Northport, in the school district, and I just want to be there again.”
Topel is the director of two nonprofits — K.i.d.s. Plus, which offers sports and therapeutic recreation programs for kids, and KIDS PLUS, which works with adults with disabilities.

David Stein is running for Northport-East Northport school board next month. Photo from the candidate
David Stein is running for Northport-East Northport school board next month.
Photo from the candidate

Josh Muno
The youngest out of the pool of candidates, Muno, 22, said he’s running because he feels the school board is “a little inactive on important issues.”
He’s critical of the Common Core Learning Standards and said he felt the curriculum doesn’t allow children to expand on their passions.
“The state, I think, is really overstepping their boundaries for this.”
Muno questions the need for the number of assistant superintendents currently at the district.
A Suffolk County Community College student, Muno lives in Northport and was raised by his grandmother. He works as a site safety captain at the Northport Hess gas station.

David Stein
Stein is credited with successfully lobbying the school board to bring about full-day kindergarten funding for next year’s budget. He started going to the meetings last year, interested in a state comptroller’s audit that claimed the district overestimated its expenses to the tune of millions over the course of several years.
“In short, I’m a big proponent of honest budgets. And I think that the prior administration … became fairly adept at adopting budgets that were not entirely transparent.”

Peter Mainetti is running for Northport-East Northport school board next month. Photo from the candidate
Peter Mainetti is running for Northport-East Northport school board next month.
Photo from the candidate

Stein said he feels the district’s been neglecting putting money into things it should, like its physical plant and sports facilities. He thinks the district needs capital improvements. He’s also interested in seeing school board term limits.
Stein is a retired New York City Police Department lieutenant.

Peter Mainetti
Mainetti said he’s running because, “I’m not happy with what the current board’s doing, quite simply.”
He said he was greatly disappointed by the school board’s decision to get rid of the arts chairperson position. He called it a “terrible decision.”
He said he doesn’t support the budget because he wants to send a message to the board that what they’re doing, particularly with the art and music program, is not acceptable. He’s in favor of greater community involvement at board meetings and wants more board-back efforts of community outreach.
Mainetti is a baker training specialist at Panera Bread. He lives in East Northport.

David Badanes is running for Northport-East Northport school board next month. Photo from the candidate
David Badanes is running for Northport-East Northport school board next month.
Photo from the candidate

David Badanes
In his first term, Badanes said he feels he’s brought about positive changes on the board.
He said he was heavily involved in the interview process that ultimately resulted in hiring the new superintendent, slated to start this summer.
Badanes also mentioned that he’s one of two trustees charged with overseeing teacher contract negotiations, and to that end there’s been a tentative resolution that has to be approved by both sides. “I think I was a positive person in that role,” Badanes said.
Badanes is also a member of the policy committee. Looking ahead, he wants to focus on resolving the LIPA litigation issue and keep offering a wide array of electives and opportunities at the high school.
Badanes is an attorney who practices mostly matrimonial, some criminal and a little bit of real estate law.

Michael “Bruno” Brunone
Brunone, born and raised in Northport, said he’s running because he wants to give back to a community about which he feels strongly.
Brunone said he believes the school board’s done a good job with the budget and he wants to step up to help out.

Mike Brunone is running for Northport-East Northport school board next month. Photo from the candidate
Mike Brunone is running for Northport-East Northport school board next month.
Photo from the candidate

“I think what I could bring to the board is I’m a good team player, and when it comes down to a board, I feel it’s all about coalition building,” he said.
He said he supports the decision to get rid of the arts chairperson position, and he’s also supportive of the decision to create full-day kindergarten at the district. He wants to focus on “the triple A” if elected — athletics, academics and the arts.
Brunone is the vice president of Huntington-based Taglich Brothers.

Featuring two nationally recognized groups in folk music and an open mic filled with 10 local singer-songwriters, the Northport Arts Coalition’s StarLight Concert Series ended its season with a bang on Friday.

A packed house was captivated by the intertwined harmonies of singer-songwriters Chuck E. Costa and Mira Stanley of The Sea and the Sea and the old time up-tempo music of Jan Bell and the Maybelles, a cornerstone in the Brooklyn folk and country scene.

Northport-East Northport teachers picket over contract negotiations earlier this year. Photo by Rohma Abbas

By Susan Risoli

The United Teachers of Northport union has reached a tentative employment contract settlement with the Northport-East Northport school district.

School board counsel John Gross, of the Hauppauge firm Ingerman Smith LLP, said in a phone interview Monday that a memorandum of agreement containing details of the settlement had been delivered to Sean Callahan, the NYSUT labor relations specialist, that day.

Callahan will have the opportunity to make changes or comments on the agreement, he said. After that, Smith said, he expects it will take “another week or so before it’s signed.”

After signature by the negotiating team, Smith said, the agreement will go to UTN members for ratification, then to the Northport-East Northport school board for approval “and then it becomes public.”

The union’s previous contract expired June 30, 2014.

Union President Antoinette Blanck said in a phone interview Tuesday night that the union had received a draft of the memorandum of agreement and “we’re in the middle of reviewing it.”

She sent an email to union members Tuesday to update them on the contract’s progress, she said. A meeting was set for Wednesday with Callahan, she said, to review the agreement. Callahan’s office is in the same building as Ingerman Smith, she added, which she hoped would hasten the process if there are further discussions about the agreement.

After the memorandum is signed, each of the union’s 720 members will get a hard copy to read. There will be a ratification meeting, Blanck said, at which the settlement agreement will be explained. Then there will be a ratification vote “by secret ballot, in each building” no less than five days and no more than 10 days after the meeting, she said.

Although she said she couldn’t yet speak publicly about details of the new contract, Blanck said she felt positively about the settlement.

“We would have been still at the [negotiating] table if we felt this wasn’t an appropriate settlement to bring back to our members,” she said. “We’re hopeful that the rank-and-file members agree that this is an agreement that is respectful of the membership and respectful of the community of taxpayers.”

Blanck said the settlement was a long time coming “but certainly we’ve been very happy with the process” of negotiations.

The union represents the district’s teachers, teaching assistants, nurses, librarians, psychologists and counselors.

The Northport Public Library. File photo from library

Northport-East Northport Public Library district voters overwhelmingly approved a nearly $10 million budget to fund both Northport and East Northport libraries’ operations in 2015-16.

The voters also elected two trustees —incumbent Georganne White and newcomer Jacqueline Elsas, according to library Director James Olney in a phone interview on Wednesday. Longtime trustee Robert Little, who had sat on the board for 13 years and sought reelection, did not win another term.

In total, 530 people voted in favor of the budget, while 68 people voted “No,” Olney said. “I’m actually very pleased with the figures,” he said. “The 530 is not only great, but we tend to have about 100 ‘No’s each year and I’m happy to see those numbers decline.”

As far as trustees go, White was the top vote getter, amassing 415 votes. She was elected to a five-year term. Elsas received 358 votes and was elected to serve a four-year term, filling the seat of former trustee Patricia Flynn who stepped down early to become a district court judge. Little received 285 votes.

The library’s spending plan translates to an approximately $6.80 increase in taxes for an average library district resident with a home assessed at $4,000. And the proposed budget stays within a New York State-mandated cap on tax levy increases.

Some of the highlights of next year’s budget include increased funding for adult, teen and children programming, $140,000 in capital and technological improvements at both buildings; an uptick in professional fees and a decrease in projected revenues. The tax levy will increase from $9.5 million to $9.6 million, or about 1.46 percent.

Olney said he is happy with the results and the library is now looking ahead to May, when library staff will be hosting a celebration marking 75 years of public library service in East Northport. That celebration, which is open to the public, will take place on Saturday, May 16 at 1:30 p.m. at the East Northport Public Library on Larkfield Road. It will feature games for children, crafts, a pickle booth, historical artifacts and more.

“It will be a nice time,” Olney said.

Eight people are interested in running for two seats

File photo by Rohma Abbas

The weather isn’t the only thing warming up.

With eight people interested in two seats on the Democratic-controlled Huntington Town Board, local party leaders will soon have to roll up their sleeves to choose their picks for the slots.

On the Democratic side, incumbent Councilwoman Susan Berland (D) will seek a fifth term in office. Afghanistan war veteran and Northport-East Northport school district teacher Darryl St. George, of Centerport tossed his hat into the ring earlier this year. Huntington Business Improvement District President Keith Barrett, of Melville, is taking a second stab at nomination after screening for Town Board in 2013. And political science adjunct professor Jim Kelly, of Huntington, who is a retired Nassau County Police Department EMS supervisor, also plans on screening.

The Democrats are screening candidates next week, according to Huntington Town Democratic Committee Chairwoman Mary Collins.

Republicans have already screened Jim Leonick, an East Northport attorney, Janet Heller-Smitelli, a Huntington attorney and Jennifer Thompson, a Northport resident and member of the Northport-East Northport school board. They’ll also screen Independence Party member and incumbent Councilman Gene Cook (I), who said he’s seeking his final term.

The party plans to host another round of screenings tomorrow evening, Toni Tepe, Huntington Town Republican Committee chairwoman said, where she expects two more individuals to screen.

Election Day is Nov. 3.

Susan Berland
Berland, of Dix Hills, has been in office since 2001. During her time in office, she’s sponsored legislation regulating bamboo and blight in Huntington Town, and she spearheaded the effort to televise all official town meetings, according to her bio on the town’s website.

The councilwoman is a member of the Huntington Lighthouse Preservation Society, Kiwanis Club of Huntington and the Board of Directors of the International Dyslexia Association of Long Island.

This election is still important, despite the fact that the Democrats control four out of five seats on the board, Berland said.

“I think every election year is crucial. It takes the town in a specific direction. I want to keep it in a positive direction both, economically and realistically.”

Gene Cook
An Independence Party-member, Cook, 53, of Greenlawn, is seeking the nod for a second four-year term on the board. If elected, Cook said it would be his last term in office. He said he believes in term limits, and that board members shouldn’t serve more than two terms.

Asked why he’s running, Cook said he has taken issue with the way the Democratic majority has spent money. He said he’s proud of projects he’s been able to do at no cost to the taxpayer, like getting a group of businesses together to pave the parking lot of the VFW Post 1469 Nathan Hale in Huntington Station.

“I don’t want the children of the future to be paying for our mistakes and I believe that’s the way it’s going,” he said.

Darryl St. George
St. George, 32, a Democrat from Centerport, declared that he is running for the board earlier this year, and is open to waging a primary election if the party does not choose him. A local teacher and veteran, St. George, 32, served as a Navy corpsman with the U.S. Marines and is interested in tackling the “the scourge of addiction” on a townwide level, he said in an interview earlier this year. The cause is personal, as he lost his 21-year-old brother, Corey, to a drug overdose. The tragedy expedited his release from the Navy in 2012. St. George also teaches social studies at Northport High School.

“I think there’s a few reasons why I want to run,” he said in the earlier interview. “Service is a big part of it: My time in the Navy, my time as a teacher has taught me to value my service to the community.”

Jim Leonick
Leonick, 53 and a Republican, said he wants to run because he has an interest in the future of the town for his children and his neighbor’s children. Leonick is concerned about overdevelopment, transparency at town hall and is interested in exploring term limits for council people — “because I don’t think that it’s right for a number of reasons for anyone to be in a position for as long as some of the town council people have been in their offices.”

Leonick is an attorney with a practice Leonick Law, PLLC, located in East Northport. He’s been involved in a number of local organizations, including serving as a Boy Scout leader, a past president of the Rotary Club of East Northport and a past board member of the East Northport Chamber of Commerce, among others.

“I’ve been involved in a lot of different community things and now I think its time to run for office.”

Keith Barrett
This would be Barrett’s second stab at the nomination, after losing out to Councilwoman Tracey Edwards (D) in 2013. Barrett, 49, of Melville currently works at town hall as the deputy director of general services. He also owns Barrett Automotive in Huntington Station and is the leader of the Huntington Station Business Improvement District — a group he’s belonged to for 11 years — where he said he’s worked to unify the community and beautify the neighborhood.

At town hall, he said he’s learned a lot about budgets and has already made changes in the General Services Department that have saved taxpayers money. For example, he streamlined state inspections of town vehicles through investing in an inspection machine and getting employees certified in motor vehicle inspections. “I’m a business guy,” he said. “Running town hall is a business. I’d like to make it easier for the residents and businesses to be able to facilitate government.”

Janet L. Heller-Smitelli
Heller-Smitelli is a civil litigator who has lived in Huntington for more than 20 years. She screened with Republicans to run for either Suffolk County Legislature — the 17th Legislative District seat held by Lou D’Amaro (D-North Babylon) — or for Town Board. In a statement, she said she’s been active with the Boy Scouts and has served as an assistant scoutmaster.

Heller-Smitelli said she’s been a member of the Republican committee for 10 years. She said she’s running because she believes there needs to be a “fresh vision and renewed spirit” when it comes to the issue of development.

“I am interested in running for office in order to advance my belief that the Town of Huntington needs to be more selective in the development and use of vacant and available parcels of land. Too often we have seen the result of inappropriate and short-sighted projects that result in a drain of our resources and adversely affect our infrastructure.”

Jim Kelly
Kelly, 64, a Democrat, is a Huntington Station resident. He is a retired EMS supervisor with the Nassau County Police Department and is currently an adjunct professor of political science at St. Joseph’s College.

Kelly said he has experience in emergency management — at Nassau County’s Office of Emergency Management, he served as bioterrorism coordinator, where he learned the ins and outs of being prepared for acts of terrorism and natural disasters.

Kelly’s passionate about preserving open space, because he feels it is disappearing.

If elected, Kelly would like to focus on the issue of crime and gangs in Huntington Station and said the way to battle the problem is to provide educational alternatives for youth. He also said he’d partner with state and county officials to offer greater drug rehabilitation and mental health counseling programs.

“Because of the issues in Huntington Station, the entire town is getting a bad rap in the media. It’s not justified and it’s not right.”

Jennifer Thompson
A Northport resident, Thompson screened with the Huntington Town Republican Committee on March 31.

Thompson sits on the Northport-East Northport school board. She first got on the board in 2010, after being appointed to complete former Vice President Arlene Munson’s term. She was re-elected to another three-year term on the school board last year.

In an interview last year, Thompson said she wanted to serve on the board again because she wanted to see some projects through, namely getting the district through a tax assessment challenge on the Northport power plant from the Long Island Power Authority. If it is resolved in favor of LIPA, Northport-East Northport school district residents could see a drastic increase in property taxes, as LIPA would contribute a smaller chunk to the tax pool.

Thompson didn’t return calls seeking comment.

This version corrects a quote by Keith Barrett.

A view of the ‘I Matter’ art project at Northport Public Library. Photo from Dina Rescott

A local group that empowers children through character education and art is hosting a celebration and fundraiser event on April 30, where the public can come and see what it is all about.

Around 90 Commack, Huntington and Northport youth who participated in the “I Matter” art and character education project that was featured at local libraries in the past year will be honored at the John W. Engeman Theater at 6 p.m. prior to a performance of “A Chorus Line” at 8 p.m.

The “I Matter” project is an education and leadership program founded by the Center for Creative Development based in Huntington. It aims to inspire and empower students to make healthy decisions and steer clear of destructive behavior.

Several presenters from the project are expected to attend the event, including Rob Goldman, the center’s director; New York State Assemblyman Andrew Raia (R-East Northport); corporate sponsors and more.
The project’s new theme song, “Shine On,” will be debuted by writer and recording artist Alan Semerdjian. Choir members from Huntington schools will be featured on the song.

“It’s really bringing the community together,” Raia said in a statement. “We need to uplift the self-confidence of our teens and this is just the perfect program to do that.”

Participation in the “I Matter” project allows children to take part in a workshop environment where they share thoughts and feelings face-to-face, make photographic portraits of each other and more. The project also prompts public conversation and community involvement to address social issues and drug use.

Tickets for the event can be purchased and donations and sponsorships can be made at the website www.imatterproject.org/donate.html.

Robert Banzer will be the new Northport schools superintendent. File photo

It’s official — Robert Banzer is Northport-East Northport school district’s next superintendent.

The school board approved Banzer’s appointment and contract at a meeting on April 1. The superintendent, who is currently the human resources director at the Wayne Central School District located outside Rochester, will take Northport-East Northport’s reins on July 1. His three-year contract ends on June 30, 2018.

Banzer’s annual base salary is $220,000, according to his contract. The board would meet each May to discuss an appropriate increase to Banzer’s salary. Should he remain in office as of June 30, 2019, his base wages would increase by $6,000. He will also be getting three days of paid transition leave “to facilitate his relocation to Long Island,” effective July 1, 2015. Banzer will be required to contribute 25 percent of current health insurance premiums on whatever plan he chooses, according to the contract.

A Northport-East Northport native, Banzer graduated from Northport High School in 1984. He was tapped from a pool of 28 candidates who applied for the position formerly held by Marylou McDermott, who resigned in January to take care of her ailing mother. Since then, Thomas Caramore has been the district’s interim superintendent. Banzer was selected by a group of school administrators who served as consultants to the board and aided them in the search for a new superintendent.

In an interview last month, Antoinette Blanck, the president of the United Teachers of Northport union, said she and the union were pleased with Banzer’s pending appointment.

“I feel confident that we will be able to have a good working relationship, and that we can collaborate to bring about more positivity and improvements to our district and make Northport what it really can be,” she said. “And I think he’ll be able to do that.”

The newly-appointed superintendent holds a master’s degree from SUNY Albany, with a concentration in social studies teaching, and a bachelor’s degree from Hamilton College, with a concentration in economics. His administrative career includes six years as assistant superintendent for instruction, almost three years as a middle school principal and three years as an assistant principal, all within the Brockport Central School District.

Banzer was a classroom teacher in three school districts since the beginning of his career in education in 1990, and has also served as a football and baseball coach.

Northport's Heather Engellis shoots the ball past North Babylon's goalkeeper in the Tigers' 11-5 win Monday at Veteran's Park. Photo by Desirée Keegan

It’s going to be tough to stop these Tigers.

The Northport girls’ lacrosse team is on a three-game winning streak after topping previously undefeated North Babylon, 11-5, Monday at Veteran’s Park in East Northport.

The Tigers came out with seven straight goals and big saves from senior goalkeeper and co-captain Kristen Brunoforte, keeping North Babylon at bay, until the team scored its first goal of the game with 16 seconds remaining in the first half.

Northport's Olivia Carner beats out two defenders and bounces the ball into the net in the Tigers' 11-5 win Monday at Veteran's Park. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Northport’s Olivia Carner beats out two defenders and bounces the ball into the net in the Tigers’ 11-5 win Monday at Veteran’s Park. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“We’re excited about the win,” Northport head coach Carol Rose said. “Any time you beat someone in your conference it’s a good thing, so we’re happy about that. We started off and executed really well in the beginning of the game, but the second half we got really sloppy, a lot of turnovers and I wasn’t happy with that.”

Rose said her team lost focus of what they were trying to achieve and setting up the offense, as Northport turned over the ball four times in a row to start the second half.

“I think we fell behind a little bit but we always pick it up at the end of the game,” said junior attack Courtney Orella, who scored a hat trick in the game. “We have good balance, we go to goal and I knew we were going to win because we always pull through at the end.”

With 13:28 left to play, Brunoforte made one of her 18 saves on the morning, but after a foul call, was unable to make the stop as North Babylon edged closer, 7-3.

Northport eighth-grade midfielder Olivia Carner beat out defenders to the left side of the net and scored in front at 9:03 to make it a 8-3 game before North Babylon answered back less than a minute later.

But Orella knew the game was the Tigers’ to win.

“We need to work on not getting rattled,” she said. “As soon as they start to come back, I think we all sort of fall to their level. I think we need to realize how good we actually are and pick it back up, because we’re such a great team.”

Northport's Natalie Leangella moves the ball into North Babylon's zone in the Tigers' 11-5 win Monday at Veteran's Park. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Northport’s Natalie Leangella moves the ball into North Babylon’s zone in the Tigers’ 11-5 win Monday at Veteran’s Park. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Orella scored her second and hat trick goals back-to-back at 5:24 and 4:08, and seventh-grade attack Danielle Pavinelli passed to junior midfielder Natalie Langella off a foul for an 11-4 advantage before North Babylon scored the final goal of the game to bring the final score to 11-5, with a minute left to play.

Behind Orella, senior attacks and co-captains Emily Yoo and Heather Engellis netted two goals apiece, while senior attack and co-captain Gabbi Labuskes tacked on a goal and an assist. With the win, Northport improved to 3-0 in Division I, while North Babylon dropped to 3-1.

“I think our defense was strong,” Engellis said. “Our goalkeeping was insane; our transition was good.”

The team agreed it needs to work on its shooting, because despite scoring 11 goals, the team was 7-for-18 on attempts in the first half alone.

But Rose does like the strengths she sees.

“I thought in the beginning of the game is where they showed their strength,” she said. “They were passing and they were running the offense on their own, calling their own plays, so they executed really well in the beginning of the game. They’re fully capable of going that the entire game, but we’re still working on that.”

As long as the team can improve it’s shooting percentage and play a full game, Rose believes the sky is the limit for her team. The team traveled to Florida today for some bonding and practice over the break, with the hopes of returning even stronger on the quest to achieve its goal.

“The weather’s been really cold so it’s hard to work on anything, so we’re looking forward to going to Florida,” she said. “The team is looking to get back to the county finals, so that’s our goal.”

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