Tags Posts tagged with "Port Jefferson"

Port Jefferson

Crime Stoppers now offering $5,000 reward for info that leads to arrest

Suffolk police continue to search for the man who killed Albert Luis Lopez Rodriguez in 2018. Luz Lopez, Rodriguez’ mother and Jason Rodriguez speak at a press conference July 22. Photo by Kyle Barr

The family of Albert Luis Lopez Rodriguez, a Selden man who was shot and killed last year in a Port Jefferson billiards hall, wailed and sobbed on the anniversary of his death, knowing that his killer was still out there.

“It does hurt a lot, he was my oldest brother,” Jason Rodriguez said at a conference held at Suffolk County Police headquarters in Yaphank July 22. “He never looked for any trouble … everything he did was for his family.”

Rodriguez, 27, was killed, according to police, after an argument and altercation at Billiards DBM in Upper Port July 22, 2018. Alejandro Vargas-Diaz, 36, who also goes by Papujo, Alejandro deVargas-Diaz and Robin Vargas allegedly had an argument with Rodriguez which ended in Vargas-Diaz shooting Rodriguez three times before escaping out the front door of the billiards hall. The victim allegedly was aquinted with the suspect, and was a father of three children, now aged two, seven and nine.

Police-obtained video of the billiards hall shows the place was lightly populated the night of the murder. Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart said Rodriguez was at the billiards hall with one of his brothers, his cousin and girlfriend. They would not specify on the precise nature of the argument between the two men. Both men hail from Sabana Iglesia in the Dominican Republic.

Family members at the press conference held signs reading “No Peace,” shouting there would be no peace until their family member’s murderer was found. Luz Lopez, Rodriguez’ mother, could hardly hold back tears as she spoke.

“My heart is broken,” she said. “I will only have peace knowing the guy is in jail.”

Police have had little luck in finding Vargas-Diaz. Directly after the murder, the suspect fled the building, and was next spotted two hours later in Jamaica, Queens, near the train station. The murder weapon, a pistol, was found in the woods nearby in Port Jefferson.

Police sent a detective to the Dominican Republic to work with local police officials in that country, though police said they did not currently know where precisely Vargas-Diaz could be, adding he has family in Brooklyn, Queens, Paramus and Patterson, New Jersey and Hartford, Connecticut. Police said the suspect did not have an arrest record, and that he has had residency status in the U.S., but that has since expired. He was also known to frequent barbershops and pool halls in the area.

“There is a feeling by some in the community this was an accident,” Hart said. “It was no accident. It was an intentional murder.”

The family spent the anniversary of Rodriguez’s murder at his gravesite in Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Center Moriches. With emotions mixing between stern and devastating sadness, the family said they will not be content until their family member’s killer is found.

“There’s no way he can hide from this,” Jason Rodriguez said.

 

by -
0 649
The Schooner Elizabeth will be used as a placeholder at the village dock. Photo from Jason Rose

Port Jefferson residents continue to look toward the harbor expecting to see masts of a tall ship high above the surrounding buildings, but they may have to wait for a while longer.

The Amistad will make a brief appearance in Port Jefferson Harbor July 18. Photo by Chris Ryon

Back in March, the village had announced negotiations with The Halie & Matthew, a 118-foot-long schooner originally set to dock in Port Jefferson Harbor. It was the result of months of work by the Port Jefferson Harbor Education & Arts Conservancy and local maritime enthusiasts, but village officials said negotiations fell through when the schooner company, Maine Windjammers Inc., wanted to work the vessel partly as a restaurant, operating outside the normal hours of the pier.

“We’re like, nope, absolutely not,” said Mayor Margot Garant at a July 15 village meeting. ”The pier closes at dusk … The tone and tenor of that agreement changed so drastically that it just fell apart.”

Village Attorney Brian Egan confirmed the scope of the operation the schooner company desired was inconsistent with what the village originally intended, that the ship would be used for tours and as a promotional platform for the village. Port Jefferson would have given the boat exclusive access to one side of the pier near Jeanne Garant Harborfront Park for four years.

However, the search for tall ships in the harbor is far from over, at least according to Port Jefferson village historian Chris Ryon. 

Ryon and other enthusiasts had set up the Port Jefferson Tall Ship Committee, a subset of the conservancy, to bring a tall ship to the harbor. Ryon said he was unfazed by the setback, saying they already have other plans in the works. The village historian and other committee members set up the Port Jeff Maritime Facebook page to advertise for additional tall ships, from which he said they have received several offers.

“We’re opening up the dock for free to schooners and are saying ‘come on down,”
he said.

These plans include using fellow committee member Jason Rose’s own still-to-be-reconstructed schooner, Elizabeth, as a placeholder at the dock site.

“[Rose] is a very altruistic person,” Ryon said. “He really wants that schooner to be a part of Port Jeff.”

The Amistad will make a brief appearance in Port Jefferson Harbor July 18. Photo by Chris Ryon

Ryon, who attended the July 15 meeting, said there were two ships they were looking at, one being the Amistad, a re-creation of the famed African slave ship where slaves rebelled against their captors in 1839. Famously, the slaves would eventually gain their freedom in court after being brought into New London Harbor in Connecticut. The ship will dock for a brief time Thursday, July 18, while the ship’s crew takes measurements of the dock.

Another ship, the schooner SoundWaters, has also been in talks with Ryon, Rose and the tall ship committee about docking in the harbor for a yet undetermined space of time.

In anticipation of the Hallie & Matthew, the village hooked up the dock to be used by the schooner with electricity, but whichever ship next moors there would be able to use it.

The dock in question currently only contains the Stony Brook University-owned Seawolf, which resides on the dock’s west edge. There is currently no other boat residing on the east edge.

Ryon added the Port Jefferson Yacht Club has made its own dock available should the village wish to house two tall ships at the same time. The club’s dock is actually deeper than the village-owned dock, the village historian said. The yacht club’s dock is 11 feet deep at dead low waters, while the village-owned dock is 5½ feet deep at dead low closest to the shore.

Port Jefferson Country Club hosted a sectional qualifying round July 15 for the 2019 U.S. Amateur Championship, featuring local talent with the hope of making the cut to compete in the final round at Pinehurst (North Carolina) Resort and Country Club Aug 12-18.

The qualifier was one of 96 tournaments held across the country, and with 84 golfers vying for the top three spots to make the cut, Brent Ito of Ann Arbor, Michigan tied with Ethan Ng of New York City to finish at 7-under. Andrew Chambers of Boca Raton, Florida finished 5-under, to round out the top three.

Ward Melville alum and Port Jeff resident Gerald Mackedon, a junior at St. John’s University, shot a 68 in the first round followed by a 72 in the second, coming in at 4-under for the tournament to secure the first alternate position for the championship in Pinehurst.

Port Jeff resident Jon Sherman survived the first round with a 75 and shot a 79 in the second to finish at 10-over.

Port Jefferson resident and 2019 graduate Shane DeVincenzo, who earlier this season won his second consecutive Suffolk championship, went on to place second in the New York State championship round June 3 at Cornell University. DeVincenzo shot a 77.

Matthew Mirocco, another Ward Melville graduate, finished the day shooting 80.

Complete results can be found here.

by -
0 413
Eagle Scout William Reed with his eagle scout project at the Infant Jesus Church in Port Jeff. Photo from Marie Reed

A new Eagle Scout has joined the ranks of the Boy Scouts Troop 354 in Port Jefferson Station.

William Reed, who has been a Scout since 2013, was honored at his Eagle Scout Court of Honor ceremony June 30 at the Elks Lodge in Centereach.

For his Eagle Scout project, Reed, who also acts as troop historian, built a garden area and bench for the Infant Jesus R.C. Church in Port Jefferson, near the convent and food pantry building. The church is one he has attended since he was a child.

The idea for the garden came from a desire to have a place church patrons and clergy could have to enjoy the outdoors. With the help of his fellow Scouts and troop leaders, Reed cut the materials for the garden frame and built the bench. Then  he helped put together the area, filled it with topsoil and added plantings and flowers. Funds for the project were raised through a fundraiser at the Coram Country Lanes
in Coram.

The Port Jefferson, Stony Brook University Shuttle. Photo from Kevin Wood

After calling the first trial run a success, The Village of Port Jefferson will again be using its jitney bus for transport between the village and Stony Brook University when classes begin again Sept. 5.

Village Parking and Mobility Administrator Kevin Wood said people can expect the same service as last season, which started as a pilot program on March 7. The new season will last until at least Nov. 10, though depending on ridership it could run longer.

Daily schedules will remain the same, though the last pickup will be at 10 p.m. from SBU. The schedule is anticipated to be Thursdays from 3 to 10 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The original pilot program cost the village around approximately $13,000, with the university picking up promotional costs.

Wood said in an email the spring season showed 3,200 riders in the two-and-a-half-month spring pilot, but he expects more riders for this term. He also said the village is looking at supplying a second shuttle.

The loop starts at Port Jefferson train station along Main Street in what’s known as Upper Port, before heading into Arden Plaza in the village, continuing up West Broadway down Route 25A, stopping at Stop & Shop in East Setauket. Once on the Stony Brook campus, it will make stops at the main circle loop, West Campus and the Chapin Apartments before coming back down Route 25A and ending at Port Jeff train station. 

The jitney ride is free for Stony Brook University students and faculty.

by -
0 350

The annual fireworks show went off in Port Jefferson for Independence Day. Costs for the show was $20,000, provided by Bellport-based Fireworks by Grucci.

Port Jefferson village was crowded with people sporting red white and blue, either in hand-held flags or in their clothes. The annual Fourth of July Parade in Port Jeff brought hundreds of attendees and marchers from all across the North Shore.

In Port Jefferson, graduates shared in the late June celebrations, braving the heat and humidity June 28 to grab their diplomas.

As the outgoing superintendent, Casciano thanked his colleagues as he prepared to leave the district in October in order to aid the new superintendent Jessica Schmettan.

“The class of 2019 will really be missed,” he said. “Everything you have done has been a demonstration of commitment and the pursuit of excellence.”

In addition, the Berger family received an honorary diploma in honor of their son Dylan, who died in 2016.

Reid Biondo, the Student Organization president, who will soon be attending the University of Virginia for economics and science, told his fellow graduating seniors they would need to look to themselves and their values as they move away from school.

“I don’t need to tell everyone the values they already know, I only ask that in the upcoming years they uphold their values with dedication and action,” he said. “Everyone can talk, but few will act.”

The cars lined up along the drive to Earl L. Vandermeulen High School, and besides the sounds of running motors, the graduating seniors could express nothing but awe. The entire front face of the high school was dressed in a shawl of ’90s and early 2000s nostalgia. Above the entrance, dressed on a large orange blimp calling back to the classic Nickelodeon channel logo, was a sign reading Royalodeon. 

The parents of the Port Jeff graduates and members of the prom committee spent hour upon hour of their own time to help construct the pieces to the prom in the months leading up to graduation, and the entire final construction, bringing it to the high school, was done over the previous weekend.

Port Jefferson residents got to experience their efforts the evening of July 1, before the students saw it for the first time. Inside was a splattering of ’90s cartoons, from “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” to “The Wild Thornberrys” to “Rugrats,” and the entire dining area designed around “SpongeBob SquarePants.” Lanterns were dressed like jellyfish, hanging from the gym ceiling, and to one side a fully stocked glass case filled with candy was accompanied by cardboard stands of the characters from “Drake & Josh.”

Students arrived awed, not only by the design of the prom but also the number of parents who came to watch their kids walk the red carpet. Kids came ferried in sports cars, but some came in more outlandish style, arriving via boat, the Port Jefferson Jitney, a Qwik Rides Car and even a rickshaw.

The home where an alleged attempted burglary took place. Photo from Google Maps

Port Jefferson residents helped detain an alleged burglar Sunday evening, police said.

Suffolk County Police said Frank Beinlich, 33, undomiciled, illegally entered the home at 22 Gladysz Way in Port Jefferson at around 5:05 p.m. and stole a safe, jewelry, small electronic equipment and clothing. No one was home at the time. Beinlich then allegedly placed several of the stolen items in a wooded area behind the house and called a taxi to pick him up.

When the taxi arrived, neighbors saw Beinlich carrying the safe to the waiting taxi. The neighbors called 911 and then detained Beinlich until 6th precinct officers arrived at the scene.

There was earlier police activity in the area after a neighbor spotted two individuals in the wooded area behind her house and called the police, one neighbor, who wished not to be named, said.

Police said they responded a few hours before the burglary in regard to a stolen vehicle that had been taken from Lake Grove. They are currently trying to determine whether the burglary suspect is also linked with the stolen car.

“They left and we thought it was over — that they had found who they were looking for,“ she said. “But about two hours later I noticed a cab coming down the block.”

The neighbor thought it was pretty unusual and the driver looked like he didn’t know what house to go to.

“He [the driver] parked his car at my neighbor’s and I knew he wasn’t home,” the neighbor said.” From my window I could see the thief behind the gate, he came out to talk to the driver briefly, went back to the house and then came back out with a bag. That’s when I called the police.”

Besides her, two other neighbors had called the police and they tried to keep the suspect in the car telling the driver to turn off the vehicle, but then the burglar jumped out, trying to escape.

“At that point my husband cornered him and with help from another neighbor they held him to the ground until the police came and took him,” she said.

The homeowner whose house was burglarized did not wish to be quoted in this article.

Beinlich was charged with burglary in the 2nd degree and an outstanding parole warrant. He was held overnight in the 6thprecinct and is scheduled to be arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip July 1.