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Smithtown Library

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Save the date! Suffolk One-Stop Employment Center will present a Job Fair at the Smithtown Library, Main Branch, 1 North Country Road, Smithtown on Friday, Sept. 13 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Representatives from over 25 companies are scheduled to attend including AFLAC, Attentive Care, Certified Laboratories, CIRCOR Aerospace, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories, Core Business Technology Solutions, Contract Pharmacal Corporation, CulinArt, East/West Industries, Express  Employment Professionals, Family Residences and Essential Enterprises, First in Service Staffing, HEAP, Home Instead Senior Care, Life’s WORC, Lloyd Staffing, Marcum Search, Nature’s Bounty, New Vitality, NY Life Insurance, Office Team, Right At Home, SCO Family of Services, Suffolk County Water Authority, Shoprite, Supreme Screw Products, UCP of Suffolk, Uncle Giuseppe’s Marketplace, US Postal Service and Well Life Network.

All are welcome and no registration is required. Bring copies of your resume and dress to impress! For more information, call 631-360-2480.

Smithtown Library officials renamed the playground at the Kings Park branch after Otis Thornhill, who died in December 2016. Photo by Sara-Megan Walsh

By Sara-Megan Walsh

The work of a former Smithtown Library trustee will forever be remembered by the laughter of children playing.

The Smithtown Library rededicated the playground outside its Kings Park branch Oct. 7 to the late Otis Thornhill. A former library trustee he also served as president of The Friends of the Smithtown
Library for seven years.

“He saw the value of the library and the need for us to continue to improve the buildings; he worked tirelessly toward that end,” Anthony Monteleone, representing The Friends of the Smithtown Library, said. “Otis was a true person of the community. It’s people like him that make Smithtown what it is today.”

Thornhill and his family first moved to Commack in 2001. That same year the library playground was constructed as a joint effort between Kings Park Chamber of Commerce and the Town of Smithtown, according to chamber president Tony Tanzi, in an attempt to draw residents to spend more time in the downtown area and shops.

“Come down here any day in the summer and you’ll see just that,” Tanzi said. “Moms and dads, and their kids, sitting downtown in Kings Park. That’s what it is all about.”

Smithtown Library officials renamed the playground at the Kings Park branch after Otis Thornhill, who died in December 2016. Photo from Facebook

In 2011, Thornhill was encouraged to run for a library trustee seat by Monteleone. He served until his death in December 2016.

“As a library trustee, he offered his support and guidance to make sure the library served the reading and educational needs of this community,” Robert Lusak, library director, said. “If I could say it to him, I would say I sorely, sorely miss the safe advice and guidance he provided to me as the director of The Smithtown Library. I will miss him very much.”

Thornhill and his wife, Elaine, were familiar faces around the community as they often worked together to sell 50/50 raffle tickets to raise funds for The Friends of the Smithtown Library during the summer concerts.

In addition to his service to the library, Smithtown Councilman Ed Wehrheim (R) remembered Thornhill as a member of the Rotary Club of Smithtown Sunrise, which regularly meets at the Millennium Diner in Smithtown. Wehrheim said his fellow Rotarian focused his efforts on his community, improving education and veterans. Thornhill served in the U.S. military reserves.

“I know that Otis is here looking down on us, looking down at his playground and his sign, and seeing those three things — education, veterans representation and a wonderful playground for the community,” Wehrheim said.

Dawn Bent, owner of Signarama in Huntington Station, made a memorial sign declaring the playground as The Otis M. Thornhill Memorial Playground. The sign also bears the names of those individuals and business who gave donations to offset the sign’s cost.

Eric Thornhill, Otis’ son, spoke on behalf of the family who said they were deeply touched by the tribute.

“It was a comfort to [Otis] to have this connection to you as he was progressing through his life,” he said of his father. “It meant everything. It kept him strong to the very end, and that meant everything to him. We are so appreciative that you also thought something of him.”

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Smithtown decked the halls this past Sunday, Dec. 4 as the Smithtown Rotary Club hosted a tree lighting at the Smithtown Library.

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The Smithtown Library. File photo by Rachel Shapiro

Smithtown Library’s $14.3 million budget was overwhelmingly approved Tuesday Oct. 11, with 1,018 yes votes to 307 no votes. The budget is a 1.13 percent increase and will cost homeowners about $12.85 more than last year’s budget.

Salary and employee benefits make up the majority of the budget, coming in at about $10.5 million, and then about $1 million for a debt service-expansion referendum.

Library Trustees Gerard Cairns and Joseph Vallone were both elected to another term, and newcomer Anita Dowd-Neufeld won a seat on the board as well.

Cairns, who received 1,008 votes, said he wanted to focus in updating technology and ensuring the library is a useful community resource.

“Technology is rapidly changing and the library must continue to strategically develop new ways to deliver services in partnership with our communities,” he said in a statement. “This would include, of course, book lending, research, a wide variety of course offerings for all ages, DVD lending, individual and small group consultations with librarians, access for community groups needing a venue, availability of computers and other media, showcase art and other member achievements and concerts.”

Vallone, who received 1,067 votes agreed about the importance of technology use in the library.

“I want to help the Library stay on the cusp of technological trends and continue to address patron interests,” he said in a statement. “I will also continue to explore avenues for grants through governmental agencies and private foundations.”

Dowd-Neufeld, who received 1,052 votes, said she would work to make sure the library continues to offer programs to the residents.

“My goals would be to assist the trustees and the staff in continuing to promote these programs to the communities we are part of,” she said in a statement. “This would include increased outreach to undeserved populations, such as the disabled and other special need minority groups. I would also assist staff and trustees in coordinating and executing fundraising events and submitting grant proposals for funding special projects and initiatives.”

There were 25 write-in ballots, according to the library.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Librarian slated to lead lecture including 17th-century tales of popular Caleb Smith State Park Preserve

Cathy Ball is a supervising librarian of the Long Island Room at the Smithtown Library. Photo from Carol Paquette

George Washington in the park? What is the history of the road? Caleb, a thorn in whose side? Did he run the gauntlet? Why was he robbed?

These are some of the anecdotes that will be part of an inside look at the history of Smithtown’s Caleb Smith State Park Preserve on Sunday, April 19, at 1 p.m. at the preserve on Jericho Turnpike. The free event will be presented by Friends of Caleb Smith Preserve. Preregistration is required by calling 265-1054.

Cathy Ball, supervising librarian of the Long Island Room at the Smithtown Library, will speak and illustrate, with artifacts, historical stories about the 543-acre preserve and the families of Caleb Smith.

The original house, which is located on the preserve, was built in 1753 by Smith — a great-grandson of Smithtown’s founder Richard Smythe — and his father Daniel Smith II.

“I have been thinking a lot about Caleb, his children and grandchildren, and the history of the park and the roads within the park and their purpose in earlier times,” said Ball, noting that she will discuss the effects of the Revolutionary War on Smith and his family. She will also delve into their lives, the mills, and the property’s subsequent history as the Wyandanch Club before becoming a state park and preserve.

Since 2004, Ball, a resident of Setauket, has worked in the Long Island Room, which contains 8,000 books and 200 boxes of documents, including original manuscripts from the 17th century. Working alongside local historian and archivist Caren Zatyk, Ball conducts programs and exhibits, supplemented with the archives.

Currently both of them are working with the New York State Department of Transportation on the development of pocket parks for cyclists along Route 347 in Smithtown, providing information and historical photo displays for each park that will depict the history of that particular area.

The Long Island Room brings in a “continual stream of researchers and authors from long distance researching family and local history,” Ball said.