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Port Jefferson

Take a bite out of these waterside restaurants

The view at Louie’s in Port Washington. Photo from restaurant staff

Spring ushers in warmer weather and a thirst for the outdoors. And what better way to quench that thirst than by dining outside? Here are a few waterside restaurants to simultaneously satisfy your cravings for beautiful vistas and delicious food.

The Whales Tale
81 Fort Salonga Road, Northport
Only minutes from Northport Village is a small, locally-run restaurant that was created as a local hangout for families and friends. The Whales Tale is meant to be a place where you can grab a bite of quality seafood with a waterfront view without actually paying for a waterfront view. The restaurant brews its own beer, which is a popular item on the menu, as are a local rum punch and the Northport Rocket — a combination of a piña colada and a rum float. The tacos are the most popular item on the menu, especially during the now famous Taco Tuesday, which is a huge hit among locals.

The view at Danfords in Port Jefferson. Photo from restaurant staff
The view at Danfords in Port Jefferson. Photo from restaurant staff

Maple Tree BBQ
820 West Main Street, Riverhead
Maple Tree BBQ offers a taste of the south and is located across the street from the Peconic River. The restaurant serves authentic barbecue food in a fun and casual atmosphere. You can buy food by the pound or by the platter to go, and many customers do this routinely. Not only are there picnic tables set up in front of the Peconic River, but Maple Tree BBQ is also right near Tanger Outlets — making it a great place to grab a bite after shopping, or drop your husband off while you shop. They make their own sweet tea here —a popular item — as well as their pastrami and Cuban sandwich.

Rachel’s Waterside Grill
281 Woodcleft Avenue, Freeport
Situated on Freeport’s famous Nautical Mile,  Rachel’s Waterside Grill offers casual, family-friendly dining paired with delicious, always-fresh seafood and a terrific view. The menu at Rachel’s Waterside Grill is innovative and different, offering a new American cuisine that includes a large selection of fresh fish that can be prepared in a variety of styles, including Korean grilled, blackened, roasted and more, paired with many different types of toppings. The tuna is one of the most popular items on the menu, along with the mussels. There are quite a few favorite cocktails, including the Dark and Stormy, a Bali Punch — a passion fruit punch drink mixed with rum — and an Almond Soy Martini.

Wave Seafood Kitchen
25 E Broadway, Port Jefferson
Wave Seafood Kitchen, located inside Danfords Hotel and Marina, overlooks the Long Island Sound and is located on Port Jefferson’s harbor, one of Long Island’s busiest harbors. This family-friendly restaurant serves fresh seafood, with some of its most popular items including shrimp crab rolls, sea scallops and salmon burgers. You can enjoy dinner inside the restaurant, or on the outdoor deck, sipping cocktails like blackberry sangria, a passion fruit mojito or a large selection of Long Island wines. There’s also a selection of refreshing, non-alcoholic beverages, including raspberry iced tea and a frozen mint chocolate chip drink.

Louie’s Oyster Bar and Grill
395 Main Street, Port Washington
This restaurant, located on Manhasset Bay, offers one of the most beautiful views of the sunset on Long Island. Louie’s also offers boaters the ability to dock and dine for free. Louie’s is more than 100 years old and has undergone quite a few changes throughout its history. With a large selection of always-fresh seafood, items like their oysters tend to be the most popular on the menu. They get fresh oysters every day, and are constantly changing the type of oysters they serve. Their Maine and Connecticut lobster rolls are also popular — Maine rolls are served cold and Connecticut served hot. Louie’s also has a very successful mixologist on staff who designs seasonal cocktail menus, including favorite drinks like a winter sangria, and during the summer, a blood orange margarita.

Costly joyride
A 28-year-old Commack man was arrested in Smithtown on May 21 and charged with second-degree grand larceny of property valued over $50,000. Police said that on May 20 the man entered a fenced yard on West Jericho Turnpike in Smithtown and stole a Ford F250 pickup truck and trailer, loading it with a type of equipment. The man was also charged with fourth-degree criminal possession of marijuana, third-degree burglary and unlawful growing of cannabis at his Scarlett Drive residence.

Bowled over
A 31-year-old Melville man was arrested on May 21 and charged with petit larceny. Police said that on April 28 at about 9 p.m., the man took cash from a bowling bag.

Assaulter apprehended
A 22-year-old man from Oakdale was arrested on May 21 and charged with two counts of assault, one charge in third degree. Police said that the man kicked a female victim who was lying on the ground at about 2 am at a location on Ocean Avenue in Ronkonkoma. Around the same time he struck a male victim with a baseball bat at the same location.

Senior struck
Police arrested an 18-year-old man from Smithtown on May 23 and charged him with second-degree
assault, injuring a victim 65 years or older. Police said the young man punched a male victim at the Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove at about 4:45 p.m. numerous times, causing him head and face injuries. The assailant was arrested at his home on Hofstra Drive in Smithtown later that day.

Smash ’n dash
An unknown person smashed the rear window of a 2005 Honda Pilot on Nesconset Highway in Smithtown and stole a backpack and laptop. The incident occurred between 9:30 and 10:15 p.m. on May 21.

Porsche problems
Someone stole Tiffany sunglasses and a child’s pocketbook out of a 2015 Porsche parked at a movie theater in on Route 347 in Stony Brook on May 21. The incident happened sometime between 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.

Helmet heist
A male complainant told police someone stole his Rangers hockey helmet while he was at Napper Tandy’s Irish Pub on East Main Street, Smithtown on May 20. The incident occurred sometime between midnight and 2 a.m.

Mailbox mischief
Someone pulled a mailbox off its post and damaged it on 1st Avenue in Kings Park on May 23 at 1:30 a.m. There are no arrests.

Drug bust
A 19-year-old woman from Lake Grove and a 17-year-old man from Stony Brook were arrested on May 20 at about 6:40 p.m. in Stony Brook on drug-related charges. Police said the Lake Grove woman was charged with loitering and unlawful use of a controlled substance after being observed in a car on the corner of Shelbourne Lane and Sycamore Circle in Stony Brook with the man, purchasing prescription pills from him without a prescription. Police said the man, who is from Shelbourne Lane, was charged with three counts of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance with the intent to sell and fourth-degree criminal possession of marijuana.

Car theft
An unknown person scratched the driver side of a 2012 Kia at the beach on Christian Avenue, entered the car and stole cash from a pocketbook inside. The incident occurred between 11:30 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. on May 24.

Not so bright
A glass sunroof on a 2007 Hummer parked on Woodfield Road in Stony Brook was smashed with a large rock, sometime between 11 p.m. on May 22 and 3 p.m. on May 23.

iSad
Someone broke the driver side window of a 2014 Nissan Sentra parked on Nesconset Highway and stole an iPad mini sometime between 7 and 9:30 p.m. on May 21.

Vehicle damaged
An unknown person damaged a 2007 Subaru parked on Cinderella Lane in Setauket-East Setauket sometime between 10 a.m. on May 23 and 10 p.m. on May 25.

Phone jacked
An unknown male went into a female complainant’s pocketbook and took her white iPhone sometime at 2 p.m. on May 20 at Stop&Shop on Route 25A in East Setauket.

Tire trouble
Someone punctured the front passenger side tire of a 2009 Honda Civic parked in a lot on Main Street in Setauket-East Setauket on May 22.

Wallet woes
An unknown person removed a Stop&Shop shopper’s wallet containing cash and gift cards on Route 25A in Setauket-East Setauket sometime between 2:15 and 2:30 p.m. on May 20.

Department store dash
Someone entered Kohl’s on Nesconset Highway and fled with assorted items without paying for them at about 4:50 p.m. on May 21 in Setauket-East Setauket.

Caught with drugs
Police arrested a 26-year-old East Setauket man at about 11 p.m. on May 21 and charged him with second-degree criminal contempt and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. Police said the man was arrested on Ringneck Lane for violating an order of protection and was found in possession of heroin.

ID, please
A High Street homeowner in Port Jefferson reported that his employee identification card was stolen out of his 2006 Subaru in the afternoon on May 23.

Unlocked
An unknown person stole items from an unlocked 2009 Jeep Grand Cherokee parked inside an open garage on Nadia Court in Port Jefferson. According to police, the person stole a GPS device, a purse, a phone charger and a debit card on May 20.
An unknown person stole men’s sunglasses from an unlocked Dodge Durango parked outside an East Broadway residence in Port Jefferson on May 20.

Double trouble
Two vehicles, a 2003 Ford and a 2014 BMW, were keyed and scratched on May 20 on Old Post Road in Port Jefferson.

First-class crime
A Shore Road resident in Mount Sinai reported on May 22 that their metal mailbox had been damaged.

Look through my window
A Helme Avenue resident in Miller Place reported that a window screen located in the back of their home had been damaged on May 21.

Not playing around
An unknown person pushed an air-conditioning unit into a home on Bayville Drive in Sound Beach in order to gain entrance on May 22 and stole one PlayStation and one Nintendo console.

Uprooted
A Robin Road homeowner in Rocky Point reported on May 24 that someone had removed pots and planters and tossed them throughout the backyard. The resident also noticed a rear gate at the home was open.

Stylish thief
Police arrested and charged an 18-year-old Miller Place woman with petit larceny on May 22 after she concealed various shirts and costume jewelry at the Rocky Point Kohl’s and went to leave without paying for the merchandise.

Taking sides
An unknown person threw rocks at an Oxhead Road home in Centereach and damaged the siding of the residence on May 24.

Getting smashed
A North Coleman Road man in Centereach reported that he found the rear window of his 2004 Chevy smashed by a stone when he got up and went to his car on May 25.

Sliced
An unknown person damaged a garden hose — possibly with a knife — at a Norwalk Lane residence in Selden on May 24.

Dollar dollar bills
Police arrested a 26-year-old Medford woman in Selden on May 23 for stealing assorted goods and personal care products from a Selden dollar store.

Shout!
A Middle Country Road gas station employee reported that a man came into the station’s convenience store and started shouting on May 20. The suspect then got into his car and rammed one of the gas station vacuums, causing damage.

Kiernan Urso as Oliver, Jennifer Collester Tully as Nancy and Steve McCoy as Bill Sikes in a scene from ‘Oliver!’ Photo by Peter Lanscombe, Theatre Three Productions, Inc.

By Stacy Santini

Bravo! Bravo! The vociferous roar emanating from the admiring standing spectators after the closing act at Theatre Three last Saturday evening was definitely symbolic of the caliber of Jeffrey Sanzel’s “Oliver!” Sanzel recreates Broadway on our local stage as only he can do with this meritorious musical, once again proving that his ability to recreate classical gems in such an appealing manner is unsurpassed. Adults and children alike gleefully piled into the bustling near sold out theater anticipating how this Dickens masterpiece would unfold; and unfold it did, brilliantly.

Of the numerous adaptations of Charles Dickens’ second novel, “Oliver Twist,” Lionel Bart’s accommodation emphasizes the author’s thematic visions exquisitely, and it is no surprise that Andrew Lloyd Weber credits Bart as the father of the British musical. It premiered at the Wimbledon Theatre on June 30, 1960, and much like the original director/choreographer team of Peter Coe and Malcolm Clare, Theatre Three’s Jeffrey Sanzel and Marquez have created a production of potential award winning magnitude.

“Oliver!” is the tale of a young orphan boy who unbeknownst to him was born into a wealthy lineage. Seemingly destined to a life toiling away in 1800 workhouses, his fate takes a turn when he meets a group of thieving pickpockets masterminded by a man named Fagin. The triumph of good over evil eventually prevails, but the ending is secondary to the journey Oliver must take to reach that destination.

Kiernan Urso as Oliver at Theatre Three in Port Jefferson. Photo by Peter Lanscombe, Theatre Three Productions, Inc.
Kiernan Urso as Oliver at Theatre Three in Port Jefferson. Photo by Peter Lanscombe, Theatre Three Productions, Inc.

With a cast of 57, many still in middle school, this could not have been an easy feat, but the synchronization, timing and actual performances are so exceptional that the enormity of the show takes a back seat to the world-class depiction as it releases itself to the audience.

The moment Kiernan Urso takes the stage as Oliver viewers are held captive. His sweet, melodic British accent and sympathy-evoking countenance are merely precursors for his performance of the infamous song, “Where Is Love?” It is all over after that as the audience is utterly and completely engrossed in the story line.

As his savior, Mr. Brownlow, played by Ron Rebaldo states, “There is something in that boy’s face,” and yes there is. Kiernan, a sixth-grader at Longwood Middle School, undoubtedly will be adding numerous roles to his repertoire in years to come.

Each actor in this musical has certainly earned his or her placement among this ensemble, but there are a few that not only stand out but soulfully elevate their characters to lofty heights and usher this “Oliver!” into a new dimension.

Dickens’ examination of external influences corrupting what is innately pure could not be depicted without the character of Fagin, portrayed by Sanzel. Not only does he direct “Oliver!” but he also takes the stage as this charismatic charlatan. We are all used to seeing him as Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol,” which he does so phenomenally that one would think it would be an adjustment to see him in another Dickens’ role, but our fears are very quickly laid to rest when he comes out of the gate with a rendition of “Pick a Pocket or Two” and commands the stage with all the veteran finesse to which viewers have grown accustomed. Sanzel has a unique ability to take unsavory characters and make us not only like them but want to know them. The abhorrent behavior Fagin displays is transcended by Sanzel, and as he rouses with his adolescent gang of thieves we are periodically thrown into hysterics with one liners such as “Go to bed or I will sing again.”

Returning to Theatre Three’s stage is the stunning raven-haired Jennifer Collester Tully as Nancy. Her vocal range is superior and she is resplendent in this role. Struggling with her relationship with the repugnant character Bill Sikes, played by Steve McCoy, she brings new meaning to the cliché of a woman standing by her man. Her performance is so heartfelt that as she sings the forlorn, “As Long As He Needs Me,” we are beguiled to the point of tears. Partnering her with the baron of maleficent characters, Steve McCoy, was smart and their chemistry is palpable. As expected, McCoy portrays Sikes as intensely as he does Jacob Marley in “A Christmas Carol” and Jean Valjean in “Les Misérables.”

More than noteworthy are performances by Linda May as Old Sally and Hans Hendrickson as The Artful Dodger. May’s shrill deliverance of her abusive rants are piercing and repugnant, as they should be, and Hendrickson’s Dodger is amusingly coy.

New to the Theatre Three family is Doug Vandewinckel as Beadle Bumble. As one of the initial characters introduced, his presence on stage cannot be overlooked. The banter between him and Widow Corney, played by Phyllis March, is delightful, and the whimsical, “I Shall Scream” is a welcome debut to the comedic elements of the story.

The set sustaining all the mayhem and debauchery is stark and fitting. The costumes and set design induce a feeling of poverty and desperation. Although the simplicity is not indicative of lack of detail, the production staff — including Ellen Michelmore, James Kimmel, Steven Uihlein, Peter Casdia, Alexander Steiner, Tyler D’Accordo, Kristen Lees, Amanda Meyer, Bonnie Vidal, Brad Wilkens, Tim Moran, Michael Quattrone and Jacob Ziskin — have created a daunting synergistic panorama.

The movement upon stage is perfection. Each nuance as choreographed by Marquez seems obligated to sustain the music and acting laid out before the audience. The accompanying orchestra led by Jackson Kohl realizes the purity of Sanzel and Marquez’s vision fully as well and the talent of musicians Mike Chiusano, Marni Harris, James Carroll, Don Larsen and Kohl should not be overlooked.

“Oliver!” is by far one of the finest productions to grace Long Island stages and exactly as it ought to be. It more than entertains — it delivers countless levels of enjoyment and raises the bar for future artistic aspirations universally. Kudos Theatre Three, Kudos.

Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson will present “Oliver!” through June 27 on the Mainstage. Tickets range from $15 to $30. For more information, call 631-928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com.

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Port Jefferson Village Hall. File photo by Heidi Sutton

Port Jefferson government will have at least one new face this summer.

Three seats on the village board of trustees are up for election in mid-June, including those of the mayor and two trustees. Mayor Margot Garant is running for a fourth term and faces a challenge from resident Dave Forgione. Trustee Larry LaPointe is on the hunt for his third term on the board, running against resident Matthew Franco and Stan Loucks, chairman of the County Club Management Advisory Council.

Trustee Adrienne Kessel, whose third term is ending this year, is not running for re-election. In a phone interview, she called being on the board “a tremendous commitment.”

“I just felt that after 6 years, I’m hoping that some good candidates step up,” she said. It’s “time to kind of reclaim a little more time for myself.”

She said she would continue to serve on the village’s architectural review committee and as the head of the committee involved in upgrading Rocketship Park in downtown Port Jefferson. Kessel has been a driving force in fundraising and design for the park project.

Kessel advised whoever succeeds her to take the job seriously and make decisions based on what is best for the village as a whole.

“Many, many things come into view when you become a trustee,” she said. “You begin to see an entirely new picture of the village where you live.”

Voting is on Tuesday, June 16, at the Village Center, from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Mayor
Garant said she is not ready “to turn over the keys.”

She said she is still working toward getting the aging local power plant upgraded — or repowered — so it continues operating and thus remains a source of property tax revenue for the village. The incumbent is also focused on completing Port Jefferson’s comprehensive plan, which outlines recommendations for development throughout the village, and on pushing for revitalization in the uptown area, which has issues with vacant buildings and crime.

“The first several years of my administration I felt that I was doing a lot of corrective work,” Garant said, between fixing infrastructure that had been long neglected and stabilizing the budget. “We’re finally moving, I feel, in a very, very positive direction.”

She is also advocating to get a Town of Brookhaven jetty in Mount Sinai repaired, as the jetty, which is between Port Jefferson’s East Beach and Mount Sinai Harbor, in its damaged state allows currents to carry sand away from the village beach, causing erosion.

“We have a really good rhythm and I’d really hate to see that interrupted or, worse, for us to take a step backward,” the mayor said. With another two years, “I will work as hard as I have for the last six.”

Her challenger, Forgione, who has lived in the village for 15 years and operates a billing and accounting business in upper Port, said he threw his hat in the ring because “our village deserves a choice.”

He wants to more tightly control village taxes and help financially prepare the village in the event that the community loses property tax revenue from the Port Jefferson power plant. Forgione would also like to call on the state and the Long Island Rail Road to upgrade the crossing in upper Port to relieve traffic congestion, and work with the Suffolk County Police Department and village code enforcement officers to reduce crime in that area.

Another issue for the challenger is transparency — he said he would like to upgrade the village website to collect more public opinions on government proposals.

Forgione, a veteran of the U.S. Army Reserves and the National Guard, said his current and past experience in business and finance, on the local board of assessment review, on the Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee, on the school district’s budget advisory committee, and as a fiscal manager for a cancer screening program with the county health department would help him lead the village.

“I want to maintain that small-town feel with the residents and the business owners while encouraging growth in the 21st century.”

Trustees
LaPointe said he is running for re-election because there is “unfinished business” in the form of projects he wants to see through.

The incumbent, a retired attorney, has been working on renovations in the village’s downtown parking lots and on improving security by strengthening a network of cameras in commercial areas, among other projects.

“So we have a lot on our plates,” he said.

The trustee said he is proud of his work to increase police presence in lower Port — improving safety particularly on weekend nights during the village’s peak summer season — and of his role in renovating the country club golf course and maintenance building.

He also said the village now has a club “that’s second to none.”

“After a lot of hard work, the village is finally starting to get into a good place — a place where we’re economically secure, a place where we can look forward to a bright future,” LaPointe said when asked why residents should vote for him.

One of his challengers, Loucks, has lived in the village since 1981 and is a retired athletics teacher and administrator in Plainview-Old Bethpage. He is running for the village board because after volunteering on the CCMAC for a number of years, “I feel I have so much more to offer to the village than just working with the membership up at the country club.”

Loucks said he wants to work toward repowering the Port Jefferson power plant, revitalizing upper Port and broadening the village’s tax base.

“I also want to get involved … in making a better relationship between the schools and the administration downtown.”

He said the village and the school district should work more closely, partnering more on things like recreation programs.

Loucks said one of his strong points is budgeting, after working as a school administrator. At Plainview-Old Bethpage, “I was handling budgets larger than the village budget. … And I was always able to make ends meet.”

He said people should vote for him because he is good at listening and organizing.

“Along with the budgeting I think my strong point is my ability to get along with everyone.”

The third candidate for a trustee seat, Franco, has lived in the village for 10 years and is a pediatric occupational therapist for Nassau BOCES. He is running for a trustee position because he thinks taxes are too high and there is “very little transparency” in the village government.

“The biggest thing that we need to do … is inform the community of what’s going on,” he said in a phone interview. “There is no openness to this government. … They should be entitled to all the information that’s going on in the village.”

Franco also has concerns about the village’s efforts to revitalize upper Port — he said the level of development that the village’s proposed comprehensive plan would allow there would congest Main Street.

“They’re not really addressing the traffic issue and that is an ambulance route,” he said.

According to Franco, the village could use incentives like tax credits to get local business owners uptown to redo their facades, or other similar methods of enhancing upper Port.

“Our small businesses are an invaluable component to our village and I don’t think they’re being dealt with in an effective manner.”

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The Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat ferry company is temporarily operating with a significantly scaled down schedule. File photo

Port Jefferson hopes to become a hub for weekend travelers with the launch of a new ferry service connecting the village to New York City and New Jersey.

The Seastreak ferry will start running on May 22, according to a press release, in partnership with other travel companies that already link the village to Connecticut and the Hamptons.

Port Jefferson will operate as the center of the new Sea Jitney service, with the high-speed Seastreak ferry running between Highlands, N.J., Manhattan’s East River ferry terminal at 35th Street and Port Jefferson; the Bridgeport-Port Jefferson Ferry running across the Long Island Sound between Connecticut and Long Island; and the Hampton Jitney bus service driving between the village and the Hamptons and other locations on the East End.

The three transportation companies will coordinate service between the branches.

“This powerful partnership has an extremely low impact on our infrastructure while introducing visitors to our beautiful, historic village,” Port Jefferson Mayor Margot Garant said in a statement.

According to the press release, one-way fares change based on where passengers start and finish their trip, but range from $33 to $50.

Reservations are required for the trips, which will focus on travel toward Long Island on the weekends, with departures from New York City and Connecticut on Fridays and Saturdays and from the East End on Sundays.

“Sea Jitney is a game changer for people who travel between Connecticut and the Hamptons,” Bridgeport-Port Jefferson Ferry General Manager Fred Hall said in a statement. “At two and [a] half hours from Bridgeport to Southampton, it’s shorter than going through NYC and much less stressful.”

The ferry between the city and Port Jefferson takes about two hours, the press release said, while the bus from the village to the Hamptons takes another hour.

Visit www.seajitney.com for more information.

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Port Jefferson, Comsewogue budgets pass

Vincent Ruggiero goes in for a handshake after being re-elected to the Port Jefferson school board. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Two write-in candidates will become Port Jefferson school board members in July, after Tuesday night’s trustee election and budget vote ended a month of uncertainty about the future of the board.

Three seats were up for election this week but only one candidate, incumbent Vincent Ruggiero, turned in paperwork to appear on the ballot by an April 20 deadline — Trustee Mark Doyle and Vice President Jim Laffey did not, nor did any other district residents. But in the face of a deficit of candidates, Doyle announced a write-in campaign for re-election, and newcomer Tracy Zamek one for first-time election.

Tuesday night, Ruggiero was returned to the board with 468 votes, and Doyle with 178 write-in votes. Zamek was elected with 246 votes.

In an interview after hearing the poll results, Zamek said she is “honored to be a voice for our children here in Port Jefferson and my plans are to really work collectively with this team to provide the best educational experience for our students in Port Jefferson.”

Doyle said he is looking forward to his third term on the school board.

“I wanted to stay on the board and I’m happy to serve another three years.”

While Ruggiero expressed excitement about working with Doyle and Zamek in the next school year, he said he would miss having Laffey on the board of education.

“He was tremendous — a hard worker, dedicated parent and member of this community.”

School board member Mark Doyle is all smiles after being re-elected by write-in votes on Tuesday night. Photo by Desirée Keegan
School board member Mark Doyle is all smiles after being re-elected by write-in votes on Tuesday night. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Aside from the two winning write-in candidates, there were other write-in candidates who received a minimal number of votes and thus fell shy of securing Port Jefferson school board seats. The largest of that write-in group was former board member Dennis Kahn, who garnered 58 votes.

Also on Tuesday night, Port Jefferson voters approved a $42.4 million budget for next year, with 491 votes in favor to 130 against. A second ballot proposition, to create a new capital reserve fund that would help fund roof replacements throughout the district, also passed, with 467 votes in favor and 122 against.

“We’re extremely pleased with the results of the vote,” Port Jefferson Superintendent Ken Bossert said. “We’re very happy to see such an overwhelming level of support from the community.”

Over in the Comsewogue School District, voters approved an $85.2 million budget, with 1,024 votes in support and 204 votes against. That district’s second proposition, to expand bus service to include 38 more John F. Kennedy Middle School students, also passed, with 1,096 votes to 134.

Three candidates ran unopposed for the Comsewogue Board of Education: board President John Swenning was re-elected with 1,058 votes; Trustee Rick Rennard was re-elected with 1,010 votes; and newcomer Louise Melious was elected with 978 votes.

Desirée Keegan contributed reporting.

The cover jacket of Jack Kohl's book, That Iron String. Photo from Kohl

By Stacy Santini

“Call me Portsmouth” … so the opening line of Jack Kohl’s new book, “That Iron String” could read. Faintly echoing thematic visions from “Moby Dick,” Kohl’s character, Portsmouth, narrates a sophisticated storyline much as Ishmael does in Melville’s world-class epic novel. Not for a very long time has Long Island birthed an author who unabashedly delivers a tale so worthy of recognition. “That Iron String” cannot be called an easy read, but it is not meant to be. Its intricately woven plot certainly entertains, but its value lies in the book’s prodigious subject matter, esoteric themes and philosophical questions.

Author Jack Kohl. Photo from Kohl
Author Jack Kohl. Photo from Kohl

A Northport native, Kohl’s adoration for the picturesque towns that hug the Long Island Sound is apparent. There is a fond innocence for the town that has claimed him and this easily translates in “That Iron String,” which is set in a fictional small water-side enclave on Long Island called Pauktaug. Describing his utopic passion for Long Island, Kohl states, “As I walk along the beaches of the north shore, I see Long Island in the light of the tremendous shadow of New England. It is right there across the water; almost as if New England is a giant hen that laid an egg which became our home.” With main character names such as Portsmouth and Boston, his affinity for all things New England is also appreciable, and theoretical relevance from authors such as Emerson, Thoreau and Hawthorne play a prominent role in development of the novel’s copious themes. The title itself, “That Iron String,” is a derivative from the famous Emerson essay, “Self-Reliance.”

Identification as author joins Kohl’s prestigious resume and is aligned with pianist, musical director, conductor and scholar. Classically trained, Kohl commenced his piano studies as a child under Marie Babiak; he went on to attend the pre-college division of The Juilliard School, completing his educational tenure with a doctor of music arts degree in piano performance. Currently associate musical director at Theatre Three in Port Jefferson, Kohl has accompanied numerous theatrical productions over the decades and continues to perform as a solo pianist in both the classical tradition and jazz. It is not surprising that his novel draws deeply from his experience in those genres.

The piano is at the forefront of “That Iron String,” and both the instrument and the music that emanates from it are personified and central to the plot. When discussing one of the driving forces that inspired him, Kohl speaks of Moby Dick. “Of all the interpretations of Moby Dick, I most related to the analysis that was a hyper-burlesque of Emersonian Transcendentalism.” Kohl has an erudite vernacular, and one often feels they are in a Victorian tea parlor when speaking with him. However, do not let the dogma of this inspiration frighten you because the book unwraps itself beautifully and has all the components that will keep a reader’s attention. Murder, mystery, intrigue, competition, love, and family values are all interwoven within the philosophical, amorphous boundaries.

The Pianist plays to a different audience with an intensely thought-provoking tale of passion, achievement
and murder.

The book is essentially about two cousins, Portsmouth and Boston, who are raised in Pauktaug by close relatives. Growing up under sweeping elm trees, the Calvinistic idealism of their youth seems to be grounding for one and muddying for the other. From an early age when they were not skinning knees running through woods and frolicking about on the local beaches, they both studied classical piano. Eventually, the pair parted ways as they individually moved away from Pauktaug to complete collegiate studies and become concert pianists.

Although both did exceptionally well, it is overwhelmingly apparent that one of them is more than gifted with infinite skills and supernatural ability. This ability drives him further and further into isolation and forces self-introspection that is revealed throughout the novel in a series of letters. The plot unfolds slowly as they return home to practice for a competition for which they have both qualified after many, many years of not seeing one another. There are numerous surprises along the way as well countless representations of beautiful imagery.

Longing to debunk clichés, Kohl knew the book would have to be much more substantial than a storyline about a pianist who struggles and would eventually have some kind of victory over those struggles. Kohl wanted something more for his potential readership than the unoriginality of that type of theme. While sketching notes, Kohl examines how he started to unravel a deeper image of that concept, “I thought what if I had a pianist who knows there is nothing he can do to be playing better than he is and is still very idealistic about his fellow man. He wants to persist and keep playing but his career begins to wane in competitions according to the judges and he doesn’t understand why; who or what is to blame? He starts to develop this anger and it builds up and builds up, where is this anger to go? This was my jumping off point for the plot.”

When conversing with Kohl, one will find that one of his favorite words is “balderdash,” which can be translated to mean “senseless talk or writing,” ironic for an author who has written a novel that is anything but.

“That Iron String” is available for purchase at www.amazon.com.

Cold Spring Harbor
Voters passed a $64 million budget, 335 votes to 130. Proposition 2, to spend capital reserve money on various projects, passed 318 to 107. Proposition 3, to establish a new capital reserve fund, passed 314 to 114. Board President Anthony Paolano and Trustee Ingrid Wright ran unopposed for re-election and received 366 and 359 votes, respectively.

Commack
Community members passed Commack’s $185 million budget 1,927 to 575.

Comsewogue
The district’s $85.2 million budget passed, 1,024 to 204. Proposition 2, to add bus service for 38 John F. Kennedy Middle School students, passed 1,096 to 134. Three people ran unopposed for board seats and were elected, board President John Swenning, Trustee Rick Rennard and newcomer Louise Melious.

Harborfields
An $80.5 million budget passed with 82.5 percent voter support. Voters also supported a proposition on the ballot to establish a new capital reserve fund, with 79.4 percent in favor. Incumbents Donald Mastroianni and board President Dr. Thomas McDonagh were returned to the board, and voters elected newcomer Suzie Lustig. Candidates Chris Kelly and Colleen Rappa fell short.

Hauppauge
Voters passed the district’s proposed budget, 1,458 to 442. Michael Buscarino and Stacey Weisberg were elected to the board with 1,098 and 1,122 votes, respectively. Candidate Susan Hodosky fell short, with just 984 votes.

Huntington
A $120.3 million budget passed, 1,228 votes to 301. Proposition 2, to spend just over $1 million in capital reserve monies to pay for state-approved projects, passed 1,252 votes to 251. Four people ran unopposed for re-election or election: board President Emily Rogan got 1,193 votes, board members Xavier Palacios and Tom DiGiacomo received 1,139 votes and 1,185 votes, respectively, and newcomer Christine Biernacki garnered 1,189 votes. Rogan, Biernacki and DiGiacomo won three-year terms. As the lowest vote-getter, Palacios will serve the remaining two years on a term of a vacated seat.

Kings Park
Voters passed an $84.7 million budget, 2,065 to 577. A second proposition on the ballot, regarding a school bus purchase, passed 1,998 to 542. A third proposition, regarding a capital project to replace the high school roof, passed 2,087 to 455. Incumbent Diane Nally was re-elected to the board with 1,821 votes, while newcomer Kevin Johnston was elected with 1,886 votes. Incumbent Charlie Leo fell short in his re-election bid, garnering 1,108 votes.

Middle Country
Middle Country’s $236 million budget passed, with 1,863 votes in favor and 579 against. All three school board incumbents — President Karen Lessler and Trustees Jim Macomber and Arlene Barresi — were running unopposed and were re-elected to their seats.

Miller Place
Newcomer Keith Frank won a seat on the school board, edging out candidate Michael Manspeizer, 781 to 287.
“I’m just looking forward to the next three years,” Frank said. “I have big shoes to step into.”
Residents also passed the district’s $70 million budget, with 964 voting in favor and 262 voting against.
Board President Michael Unger said voter turnout was low “as a result of a good budget and good candidates.”

Mount Sinai
Voters approved the $56.7 million budget with 1,241 in favor and 316 against. Newcomer Michael Riggio was elected to the board with 993 votes, followed by incumbent Lynn Capobiano, who garnered 678 for re-election to a second term. John DeBlasio and Joanne Rentz missed election, receiving 624 and 321 votes, respectively.

Northport-East Northport
The $159.6 million budget passed, 3,281 to 788. Proposition 2, to spend $1.2 million in capital reserves, passed 3,561 to 504. Incumbent David Badanes, former trustee Tammie Topel and newcomer David Stein were elected to the board, with 2,446 votes for Badanes, 2,130 for Topel and 2,548 for Stein. Incumbent Stephen Waldenburg Jr. fell short of re-election, with 1,290 votes. Newcomers Peter Mainetti, Josh Muno and Michael Brunone missed the mark as well, with Mainetti garnering 1,018 votes, Muno receiving 542 votes and Brunone getting 1,039 votes.

Port Jefferson
Voters passed a $42.4 million budget, 491 to 130. Proposition 2, to create a new capital reserve fund that would help replace roofs throughout the district, passed with 467 votes in favor and 122 against.
Trustee Vincent Ruggiero was re-elected to the board with 468 votes. Write-in candidates Tracy Zamek, a newcomer, and Trustee Mark Doyle were elected with 246 and 178 votes, respectively. There were a number of other community residents who received write-in votes, including former board member Dennis Kahn, who garnered 58 votes.

Rocky Point
The $78.7 million budget passed with 788 votes in favor and 237 against. Board Vice President Scott Reh was re-elected to a third term, with 679 votes. Newcomer Ed Casswell secured the other available seat with 588 votes. Candidate Donna McCauley missed the mark, with only 452 votes.

Shoreham-Wading River
The school budget passed, 910 to 323. Michael Fucito and Robert Rose were re-elected to the school board, with 902 and 863 votes, respectively.

Smithtown
Smithtown’s $229.5 million budget passed, 2,582 to 762. School board President Christopher Alcure, who ran unopposed, was re-elected with 2,295 votes, while newcomer Jeremy Thode was elected with 2,144 votes. MaryRose Rafferty lost her bid, garnering just 860 votes. A second proposition on the ballot, related to capital reserves, passed 2,507 to 715.

Three Village
Voters passed a $188 million budget, 2,401 to 723. Incumbents William F. Connors, Jr. and Deanna Bavlnka were re-elected, with 2,200 and 2,052 votes, respectively. Challenger Jeffrey Mischler fell short, garnering only 1,095 votes.

Officials cut the ribbon on the new Port Jefferson Village tennis courts. Photo by Barbara Donlon

Port Jefferson officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday for newly renovated tennis courts behind Village Hall that will double as a soccer field.

Renee Lemmerman waits on a service at the new Port Jefferson Village tennis courts. Photo by Barbara Donlon
Renee Lemmerman waits on a service at the new Port Jefferson Village tennis courts. Photo by Barbara Donlon

The village recently upgraded the three tennis courts, off Roessner Lane and across from Rocketship Park, using a $30,000 grant from the Suffolk County Downtown Revitalization Grant Program, which the village matched equally.

According to a press release from the village, the courts’ surface is now a combination of sand and synthetic grass, making it possible for residents to take down the removable nets and use the facility to play soccer.

Doug DeGroot, owner of the Hamptons Tennis Company and a Sag Harbor resident, donated labor and new net posts.

“This project is a reflection of a great partnership,” Mayor Margot Garant said in an interview at the ribbon-cutting.

More than 7,500 people use the site annually and the village predicts usage will double this year now that it can be used for soccer.

“The upgrade of the tennis courts will attract tennis and soccer enthusiasts, creating an inviting, safer court area available during two sports seasons,” Renee Lemmerman, village recreation superintendent, said in a press release.

Garant said she is happy the courts were redone in a timely manner, as they had become unusable, with damage even beyond what patching could repair. She said it would have cost more to resurface the courts than to upgrade them.

Kiernan Urso as Oliver and Jeffrey Sanzel as Fagin in a scene from ‘Oliver!’ at Theatre Three in Port Jefferson. Photo by Peter Lanscombe, Theatre Three Productions, Inc.

By Erin Dueñas

Twelve-year-old Kiernan Urso can trace his love of acting back to preschool where a creative teacher engaged him and his classmates in games of “Let’s Pretend” where the only limit was their imaginations.

“She let us choose whoever we wanted. We would all pick a character, and she would write a script based on the characters,” said Kiernan. “I remember once there was a play with Peter Pan and Rocky Balboa and three Disney princesses. That’s when I learned that performing was a way of communicating.”

In addition to “Let’s Pretend” sessions, the Longwood Middle School sixth-grader said he would accompany his father, a teacher in Longwood, to the plays put on at school.

“I remember sitting in the front row and thinking I can see myself doing that.”

On May 23, Kiernan will take to the stage as the title character in “Oliver!” at Theatre Three in Port Jefferson.

It will be his third time on the main stage there, having appeared in “A Christmas Carol” as Scrooge as a Boy this past year and Tiny Tim the year before. Kiernan said he is excited to play Oliver.

“He is very innocent but very strong,” Kiernan said of his character. “He can survive anything. Despite his life, that hasn’t gone well, he’s a fighter and he won’t give up.”

But playing the title role, which puts him in nine of the play’s 12 scenes, is also making Kiernan nervous.

“Playing the main character is nerve-wracking,” he said. “What are people going to think? I don’t want to disappoint anyone.”

With rehearsals at least five times a week, preparing for “Oliver!” has taken up a lot of Kiernan’s time, but he manages to complete schoolwork thanks to supportive teachers and making good use of his time.

“I get my homework done during the school day and maybe some in the morning,” he said. “I don’t know how I do it but it works out.”

The demanding rehearsal schedule also keeps Kiernan’s mom Christina busy, driving her son back and forth from their home in Ridge to Port Jefferson.

“It’s all worth the crazy hours. It’s such a great experience for him” she said. “To see that spark in your child’s eye — to see him love it and not just like it. It’s all worth it.”

A self-described movie buff, Kiernan said he enjoys watching movies with a lot of drama, and he said he would love to appear in a horror movie one day. He is a big fan of television as well, counting the ABC show “Once Upon a Time” as a favorite.

“I love how they twist fairy tales and compress them with our modern world,” Kiernan said. “I would love to be on that show someday. I don’t even care what character I would play.”

Kiernan said eventually he would like to audition for commercials and possibly even Broadway. A dream role would be to play King Triton in “The Little Mermaid.”

“He’s in control and I like the feeling of how he can boss people around.”

For now Kiernan is enjoying his time at Theatre Three, which he said is unlike anything he has ever experienced.

“The adults here treat you like one of them,” he said. “They are not distant and they try to help you out and do what it takes to make you comfortable.”

Kiernan said he is particularly inspired by Jeffrey Sanzel, who is directing “Oliver!” and playing the role of Fagin. Sanzel also plays Ebenezer Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol.”

“The way he directs, acts and portrays any character he plays is amazing,” Kiernan said. “I want to be like that when I grow up.”

Sanzel is equally impressed with Kiernan.

“When he auditioned for Oliver, we saw something truly extraordinary,” Sanzel said. “It was a combination of raw honesty and underlying fire. In Kiernan, we saw the passion and the light that shines through underneath. The audience will root for him from the first moment to the last.”

Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson, will present the timeless musical “Oliver!” from May 23 to June 27. For more information, call 631-928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com.

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