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Smithtown

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Lawn signs opposing a potential CVS in St. James have resurfaced several months after the pharmacy withdrew its initial application. File photo by Phil Corso

After striking out the first go-around, CVS has stepped up with a second attempt at building a new site in St. James, and residents are not going silently.

Vincent Trimarco Sr., the attorney representing CVS Albany LLC, had withdrawn initial plans to install a 13,551-square-foot CVS pharmacy with a mezzanine and 57 parking spaces at the intersection of Woodlawn and Lake avenues back in November. But Peter Hans, principal planner for the Town of Smithtown, outlined the details of the latest proposal at a Town Board work session on Tuesday as St. James residents dusted off their anti-CVS lawn signs for another bout.

The new plans, documents showed, included an 11,970-square-foot building on the first floor with 1,581 square feet of mezzanine space. Hans said CVS had modified its original plan, now placing the proposed building within a commercial business portion of the lot without a zone change, and would require slight variances to make the plans possible, including a special exception to expand parking in a residential district.

Hans said the applicant was requesting this exception to give CVS an extra 50 feet of parking. The proposal will be heard at the June 9 Board of Zoning Appeals meeting at 7 p.m. at the Smithtown senior center. If approved, the BZA will send the proposal to the Town Board for site plan review.

“So they’re more or less shoehorning the building in,” Supervisor Patrick Vecchio said in response to Hans’ outlining of the new plans at Tuesday’s work session.

Trimarco could not be reached for comment. But in a presentation to the Planning Board last October, he assured St. James that CVS would be a good neighbor.

“CVS wants to become part of the community,” he said at that initial meeting late last year, inviting a heavy stream of jeers. “The community of St. James, we believe, really needs a full-service pharmacy.”

Residents had long been against the proposal to build a CVS on the site, citing an abundance of reasons why they felt it would be a detriment to their community.

When the first proposal was at the center of controversy in November, residents took to a special Facebook page called Say No to CVS in Saint James as a means to organize and promote their cause. That page breathed new life this week in light of the newest proposal — something the page had warned about months ago.

“Don’t be fooled,” the page posted after CVS’s application was withdrawn on Nov. 19. “This fight may not be over yet. If you have a sign, hold onto to it. CVS can revise their plan and come back at a later date.”

The signs started sprouting back up over the past month.

CVS currently owns three stores in Smithtown. But for more than 70 years, the St. James community has been the home of Spage’s Pharmacy, which is located roughly five blocks from the latest proposed CVS site.

Residents approaching the podium at a BZA meeting last year often cited Spage’s as a more-than-adequate option for anyone in town looking for basic pharmacy needs, including the store’s own management.

“In my opinion if you were to grant this, these variances are excessive, there’s no need for it, you wouldn’t have as many people in this room and the signs that are out there, with over 6,500 hits on our Facebook page Say No to CVS, that are opposed to what is going on here,” a recent post on the page said. “This is a downtown community and we care about the character of our area, and we care about our quality of life, and we care about the values of our properties.”

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.

Dr. Mitchel Fagin faces federal indictment, charges saying he distributed oxycodone, meth and more

Stock photo

A doctor from Smithtown faces federal charges accusing him of doling out drugs illegally, the U.S. Department of Justice said this week.

Dr. Mitchel Fagin was indicted Friday morning on charges that he illegally distributed oxycodone, methodone and alprazolam, highly addictive prescription pain medications, said Kelly T. Currie, acting United States attorney for the Eastern District of New York. Currie and Special Agent-in-Charge James J. Hunt of the Drug Enforcement Administration announced the charges on Friday.

“At the trial the government anticipates calling as witnesses several women who confirmed that Fagin accepted sexual favors in exchange for controlled substance prescriptions,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Lara Gatz stated in court records.

Fagin, 63, was arraigned over the weekend before United States District Judge Joanna Seybert at the United States Courthouse located in Central Islip, where he pleaded not guilty to the charges. He surrendered Friday to the Long Island District Office Tactical Diversion Squad, which is comprised of federal agents and officers of the Nassau County, Rockville Centre, and Port Washington police departments.

His attorney could not be reached for comment.

The 12-count indictment and public filings alleged that between May 2010 and September 2014, Fagin, a pain management doctor, issued multiple controlled substance prescriptions without a legitimate medical purpose to individuals he knew were addicts. Fagin is also alleged to have issued controlled substance prescriptions in exchange for sexual favors from female patients.

“Dr. Fagin allegedly used his prescription-writing privileges not to heal, as was his duty, but to victimize vulnerable patients,” Currie said. “Doctors who issue prescriptions without a legitimate medical need are violating the law and will be held accountable.”

The doctor was previously investigated by the Office of Professional Medical Conduct resulting in at least one suspension of his medical license.

If convicted of the current charges, the defendant faces a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment and a $1 million fine.

“As detailed in the indictment, Dr. Fagin’s house was a medicine chest for opioid addicts to fuel their addiction. Dr. Fagin allegedly abused his position as a medical practitioner and prescribed medications for non-medical needs,” Hunt said in a statement over the weekend. “I commend the Long Island District Office Tactical Diversion Squad and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of New York, for their diligent work throughout this investigation.”

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Smithtown Animal Shelter. File photo by Rachel Shapiro

The director of the Smithtown Animal Shelter will be stepping down from his position at the end of next month, town officials said.

Town Supervisor Pat Vecchio (R) publicly announced the resignation of shelter Director George Beatty, 62, at a Town Board meeting last Thursday night, citing the recent death of Beatty’s wife as a catalyst to his decision to vacate his post. Beatty, who has been at the helm of the shelter for more than 30 years, has been at the center of controversy for many months in Smithtown as residents have consistently used Town Hall meetings as public forums to question his conduct, leadership and performance.

“I know many people would like to know the status of the animal shelter’s supervisor, Mr. Beatty,” Vecchio said at the Town Board meeting. “Two weeks ago, he lost his wife. It put some burden on him, as he takes care of his grandchildren.”

Vecchio said Beatty submitted his letter of resignation to the board earlier this month intent on retiring as of June 30. The audience at the meeting started applauding and cheering. The letter, dated, May 19, was short but concise.

“I have enjoyed working for the town of Smithtown and its residents and very much appreciate all of your support,” Beatty wrote in the letter. “I will miss working at the animal shelter, and if I can be of any assistance during the transition, please let me know.”

It was unclear who would be replacing Beatty, officials said. Town Councilwoman Lynne Nowick (R) took on the role of animal shelter liaison earlier this year and has been working with an advisory board she established to enhance care at the shelter, usher in building improvements and work toward a 100 percent adoption rate.

She said at the meeting that Beatty had been working closely with her advisory board of experts, which included animal welfare experts Lucille DeFina and Diane Madden and animal welfare attorney Elizabeth Stein, and was helpful in moving the project forward.

“We’ve been meeting regularly with him,” she said. “George has been absolutely cooperative and we’ve been working together for some time.”

Residents have been accusing Beatty of animal neglect at the shelter and called for his removal from the facility. Beatty blamed a lot of the accusations on misinformation, rebutting claims that his shelter was not clean nor doing enough to care for and promote adoption of the animals.

He said over his nearly three decades at the helm, he has seen the Smithtown shelter’s population shift from a dog-dominated census to a cat-centric group now because of his team’s hard work.

An online petition at www.change.org also called for Beatty’s resignation. The online petition, which also links to a Facebook page calling for change at the shelter, blamed Beatty for animal neglect and requested the town form a committee to choose a new director, independent of the civil service list.

The shelter director said the petition was rooted in misleading information.

“I’m very truly upset — I was mortified by it,” Beatty said in a previous interview. “It would have been of no use to speak. I feel our side was very well spoken and professional. But as for the opposing side, it was apparent to me that they only wanted to believe what they wanted to believe. Nothing I said could have put them to rest.”

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Bulls will play Ward Melville in the Suffolk County Class A finals on Wednesday at Stony Brook University

Smithtown West’s Jarrod Wilkom moves the ball up the field while Smithtown East’s Connor Desimone defends. East topped its crosstown rival 17-11 in the Division I semifinals on May 22. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

The No. 2-seeded Smithtown East boys’ lacrosse team collided with No. 6 Smithtown West in a battle of the Bulls Division I semifinal playoff matchup Friday, and while West was able to close within two goals late in the third quarter, East outscored its crosstown rival to claim a 17-11 victory and move on to play in the Suffolk County Class A finals.

Smithtown West’s Garrett Brunsvold winds up to shoot in his team’s 17-11 Division I semifinals playoff loss to Smithtown East on May 22. Photo by Bill Landon
Smithtown West’s Garrett Brunsvold winds up to shoot in his team’s 17-11 Division I semifinals playoff loss to Smithtown East on May 22. Photo by Bill Landon

East scored the first four goals of the game with senior attack and co-captain Brian Willetts netting two, and junior attack Dan Rooney and sophomore midfielder Connor Desimone adding a goal apiece. Sophomore attack Sean Barry assisted in three out of four scores.

With his two goals and an assist later in the game, Willetts tallied his 311th career point to put his name in the Smithtown East record books as the top scorer in program history.

The senior attack said it wasn’t so much a personal achievement as it was a team record, adding that it wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for the teammates he’s had over the years, and the support from his family.

“I owe a lot to my parents — my mom getting me doctor appointments whenever I needed them,” Willetts said. “She’s the reason I stay off the sideline as far as injuries are concerned, and I really appreciate everything she does for me.”

Six minutes into the contest, West sophomore attack Jimmy Caddigan’s solo shot broke the ice to get his team on the scoreboard.

East sophomore attack Michael Latini answered back after grabbing a rebound off the pipes, and pushed the ball to the back of the cage wit 49 seconds left in the quarter, to help his team jump out to a 5-1 advantage.

Caddigan dished one off to junior midfielder Dan Caroussos, who drove the ball home two minutes into the second quarter, and after winning the ensuing face off, West’s junior midfielder Danny Varello took the ball from midfield all the way to the net, and with the good goal, helped his team close the gap, 5-3.

Both teams traded scores, with East’s Barry receiving a feed from Desimone, followed by West senior midfielder Jarrod Wilkom’s unassisted goal that split the pipes to bring the score to 6-4.

Smithtown East’s John Daniggelis shoots the ball while Smithtown West’s Zach Lamberti hoists his stick up to defend in the Division I semifinal game on May 22 where East topped it crosstown rival 17-11. Photo by Bill Landon
Smithtown East’s John Daniggelis shoots the ball while Smithtown West’s Zach Lamberti hoists his stick up to defend in the Division I semifinal game on May 22 where East topped it crosstown rival 17-11. Photo by Bill Landon

East continued to pepper the scoreboard with senior midfielder and co-captain John Daniggelis scoring twice, and Barry tallying another goal, to give East a 9-4 lead with 4:36 left to play in the second quarter.

East and West traded goals once more, to give the game a 10-5 halftime score.

“I feel like we moved the ball well today and we didn’t make too many stupid errors, and then we tightened it up on defense,” Barry said. “Coach told us to come out in the second half like the game was 0-0, and don’t let these guys get back in it.”

With the game slipping away, West took to the cage with three unanswered goals to open the scoring in the third. First, freshman attack Kyle Zawadzki’s shot found its mark, followed by Wilkom and sophomore midfielder Danny Riley, to trim the deficit to 10-8.

“I’m extremely proud of my players,” Smithtown West head coach Bob Moltisanti said. “I just told them that they have nothing to be ashamed of; they played their tails off. I told my seniors they can look themselves in the mirror and be proud of how they performed all season long.”

Unfazed by the scoring run, East retaliated with five unanswered goals of their own to bring the score to 15-8 heading into the final quarter.

“We know they’re a high-powered offense,” West’s Wilkom said. “We tried falling into a zone, but it wasn’t working for us in the first quarter, so we switched to man-to-man coverage in the second. We played well, but they got on some runs. It got away from us here and there, but we played well as a team.”

Desperate to stop the scoring frenzy, West leaned on Caroussos first, and then senior midfielder Garrett Brunsvold to make it a 15-10 game.

Smithtown East’s Dan Rooney elbows his opponent as he makes his way downfield in East’s 17-11 Division I semifinal playoff win over Smithtown West on May 22. Photo by Bill Landon
Smithtown East’s Dan Rooney elbows his opponent as he makes his way downfield in East’s 17-11 Division I semifinal playoff win over Smithtown West on May 22. Photo by Bill Landon

As the clock wound down, East hit the scoreboard twice more, while West’s final goal came from freshman attack Matt Miller off an assist from Caroussos.

“I thought we played pretty well, but they’re a great team,” Caddigan said of East. “They’re county champs two years in a row. They put up 17 on us. We put up 11, but it just wasn’t enough today.”

East head coach Jason Lambert said Smithtown West is also a great opponent that continues to get better, even with a younger roster.

“They graduated nine seniors last year and to make it this far is a testament to them and their coaching staff,” Lambert said. “We’re very fortunate. We’ve got a lot of kids who can move the ball around and they play unselfishly. We do a good job of sharing the wealth and we’ve done a good job at finishing all year long.”

East will face Ward Melville on Wednesday at Stony Brook University for the Suffolk County Class A title. The opening faceoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

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Glenn Jorgensen poses with a tree stump at the Montclair Avenue highway yard. File photo by Rachel Shapiro

In a short and not very sweet memo, Smithtown’s supervisor called out the superintendent of highways.

Pat Vecchio (R) said he felt Glenn Jorgensen should resign from his post amid a slew of accusations surrounding his performance on the job, including an alleged sexual harassment scandal and various felony charges against Jorgensen regarding road paving projects late last year. The letter came after the supervisor learned Jorgensen, 63, had allegedly taken his personal secretary out to a job site.

Vecchio’s memo included an attachment from the Suffolk County Civil Service Department, which explicitly outlined the job description of the secretary to the highway superintendent and did not include on-site work.

“It is my understanding that today, May 13, 2015, you had [a] secretary accompany you to a job site,” the memo said. “It seems to me that you are either not comprehending why the position exists, you have a disregard for civil service law or you are mocking the town board and the public.”

Town records showed that Jorgensen, who could not be reached for comment, hired Kaitlin Swinson as his new secretary in late January. Her position had initially been terminated back in February when the town board voted unanimously to rescind the $38,000 allocated for her job, but later reinstated her position in a 3-1 vote in March. She could not be reached for comment.

The highway superintendent has been at the center of controversy for several months now since a notice of claim was filed against the town in December alleging he had sexually harassed his former secretary, Aimee-Lynn Smith, 27. The claim also alleged Jorgensen had taken her out to job sites, out to eat and eventually fired her after finding out she was dating an employee of the highway department.

Jorgensen, of St. James, was also slapped with separate charges accusing him of tampering with public records for a town paving project, Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said.

Jorgensen pleaded not guilty to the four felony charges and the misdemeanor in April.

The district attorney alleged that Jorgensen directed a highway foreman to alter road construction reports to conceal that he had approved a contractor, Suffolk Asphalt Corp. of Selden, to pave at least eight Smithtown streets in freezing temperatures in November. The altered records misrepresented the weather conditions during the repaving work, Spota said.

Jorgensen’s misdemeanor grand larceny charge also accused him of stealing a public work order for the improper repaving and taking the official document home. District attorney detectives found the records in Jorgensen’s Hope Place residence, under his bed, Spota said.

“State department of transportation construction standards dictate asphalt must not be applied to a road surface in freezing temperatures and, in fact, the town’s own engineer has said repaving in freezing weather would result in the asphalt falling apart,” Spota said. “The repaving of a residential street doesn’t happen that often and when it does, residents are paying for a job done correctly, not a faulty repaving that will soon need pothole repair work.”

Smithtown Democratic Committee Chairman Ed Maher also called for Jorgensen’s resignation back in April after the charges surfaced, calling the taxpayers funding of his salary an outrage.

The Kings Park woman charged with driving while intoxicated after a fatal Smithtown crash killed an Island Park man in March pleaded not guilty to a 12-count indictment on Wednesday, Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said.

Natalia Simons, 36, was driving her Nissan Rogue north on Route 25A when she crossed over into the southbound lane around 12:05 a.m. on March 13, colliding with 59-year-old Larry Garwood’s Toyota Camry, Spota said.

Garwood, who worked as a radiology supervisor at St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center, was taken to the same hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Spota said. Simons was taken to Stony Brook University Hospital via Smithtown Ambulance, police said.

Simons was charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, first-degree and second-degree vehicular manslaughter, second-degree assault, aggravated driving while intoxicated, driving while intoxicated, reckless driving, speeding and failure to maintain a lane, the DA said.

She was released on $50,000 bail, Spota said.

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The latest 100 names are read off before being unveiled as part of Nesconset’s own memorial wall in honor of those lost after lending helping hands in the aftermath of September 11 in 2001. Photo by Jenni Culkin

By Jenni Culkin

There was not a dry eye in the 9/11 Responders Remembered Park as the greater North Shore community came together to commemorate the lives of first responders who died from September 11-related illnesses.

The Nesconset park, at the intersection of Smithtown Boulevard and Gibbs Pond Road, was dedicated to victims of the horrendous terrorist attack and was crowded with hundreds of residents and families as 100 new names were added to its memorial wall on May 16.

“They are the reason we get out of bed,” said John Feal, founder of the FealGood Foundation, who acted as the master of ceremonies. “Thank you for allowing us to serve you.”

The wall already had more than 500 names, but those who spoke at the somber ceremony did so with the same sort of hurt felt when the attack first occurred in 2001.

“Like everyone here today, I pale in comparison to those who are going on the wall,” Martin Aponte, president of the park, said during the ceremony with a voice full of emotion.

The service featured various patriotic musical performances and words from elected officials.

“We thank you, from the bottom of our hearts,” said Suffolk County Legislator Leslie Kennedy (R-Nesconset), “I commit to you that I will always stand watch over this park.”

Elected officials from neighboring towns joined the Nesconset community in honoring the lives of the 9/11 responders.

“We are truly a country of greatness and heroes,” said Legislator Tom Cilmi (R-Bay Shore).

Toward the end of the ceremony, the sons of fallen responders read the names that were going to be etched into the memorial wall. Each name was followed by a solemn bell toll.

Shortly after the names were all read, the sun started to show itself above the memorial park. Feal and those who played active roles in leading the ceremony made it very clear during and after the ceremony that they were grateful for the amount of people attending the ceremony despite the rainy weather.

“It’s humbling to see this many people come out,” Feal said. “For people to withstand Mother Nature truly showed the American spirit.”

Aponte said there are trees among the park’s foliage that are direct descendants of a tree that survived the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11. One of these trees was given to the Hauppauge Fire Department and another was also given to the Nesconset Fire Department as tokens of appreciation for each department’s contribution to the park.

A memorial ceremony is usually held, and is expected to continue to be held, every May during Memorial Day week and every September during the anniversary of the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center.

The park has plans to eventually recognize and honor the service dogs that have passed away due to 9/11-related illnesses, Aponte said. There are also plans to place signs on the Long Island Expressway that lead travelers to the park from nearby exits but there are no definite dates at this time.

The park’s upkeep and development is dependent upon donations that can be made on the park’s website, which is at respondersremembered.com. The Greater Smithtown Chamber of Commerce is also going to be hosting a golf outing to benefit the park in early August.

“We built this park so history does not get distorted,” Aponte said.

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Charlie Leo lost his re-election bid in Kings Park. File photo by Erika Karp

By Phil Corso & Barbara Donlon

Residents gave a thumbs up to school budgets throughout Smithtown and its neighboring districts, including Commack, Hauppauge and Kings Park.

Smithtown’s $229.5 million budget passed, 2,582 to 762. School board President Christopher Alcure, who ran unopposed, was re-elected with 2,395 votes, while newcomer Jeremy Thode was elected with 2,144 votes.

The board largely assembled together in the district clerk’s office Tuesday night as the results came in before eventually filling the board room around 10 p.m. for the final reading of the numbers.

“I am very thankful that the budget passed, it clearly was a fiscally responsible budget that supports our school district and mission,” said Thode, who was not present when the board read the results aloud Tuesday night. “I am also humbled by the overwhelming personal support of the community in my election. I would like to thank everyone for their belief in me and look forward to helping all the students and families in Smithtown.”

MaryRose Rafferty lost her bid, garnering 862 votes, but said she looked forward to working with the board on the other side of the microphone nevertheless.

“I’m not going away, I will still be the voice of the people for the people,” she said.

A second proposition on the Smithtown ballot, related to capital reserves, passed 2,507 to 715.

Community members passed Commack’s $185.1 million budget 1,927 to 575.

In Hauppauge, voters passed the district’s proposed $105.4 million 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 984.

Kings Park voters came out to support the district’s $84.7 million budget as well on Tuesday.

The community voted in favor of the budget 2,065 to 577. There was also voting on two propositions, regarding bus purchases and a capital project to replace the high school roof. Both passed, 1,998 to 542 and 2,087 to 455, respectively.

Voters ousted Vice President Charlie Leo (1,108 votes) and voted in incumbent Diane Nally (1,821) and newcomer Kevin Johnston (1,886) for the two open seats on the district’s board of education.

“The community spoke and I am fine with that,” Leo said.

The district’s budget included a 2 percent tax levy increase while keeping its current curriculum, extra curricular activities and adding a wish list of items that included an additional social worker, new musical instruments and class size reductions.

“It was uncomfortable at best because of my long association with Charlie Leo and Diane Nally but it was the right time to run for a seat on the Kings Park Board of Education,” Johnston said. “My goals are to provide the best education for students at Kings Park while being financially responsible to the taxpayers.”

Smithtown Comptroller Donald Musnug outlines his capital budget suggestions before the Town Board on Monday. Photo by Phil Corso

Smithtown’s new comptroller is calling on the town board to borrow money to fund upcoming capital projects.

Donald Musgnug, who was sworn in as town comptroller in February after his predecessor, Lou Necroto, took a job with the county, provided his first capital budget recommendations report on Monday and pushed for borrowing money to pay for improvements. He listed several bullet points justifying his recommendation, as the town gears up to fund projects like an animal shelter renovation, LED streetlight retrofittings and marina bulkhead improvements.

“Interest rates are at historically low rates and the town is fiscally strong,” Musgnug said. “Now is the time to borrow, when rates are low, and thankfully we are in a position to do so.”

The comptroller said he expects replacing aging and otherwise deteriorating equipment would reduce the amount of money set aside in future budgets for repairs and maintenance. In reference to an upcoming streetlight project that would bring LED lighting to Smithtown’s streets, Musgnug said the town would offset the costs of future projects in the form of savings.

“Taking advantage of new technology, such as in the case of LED bulbs for streetlights and the municipal solid waste facility, will reduce utility costs [and] repair costs and improve safety,” Musgnug said in his report. “Because the town’s finances have been conservatively managed over the years, there is little room to cut operating budgets, making the goal of staying within the New York State tax cap increasingly difficult in light of rising compensation, health care and pension costs.”

In the upcoming year, Musgnug said most of the budgetary requests are equipment-related and should be done in the near future as assets deteriorate due to age and usage.

The streetlight project, he said, would total $5.6 million but could be offset by a possible $750,000 grant from the state.

“It should also be noted that … we expect to reduce utility costs and repairs by $350,000 as a result of the streetlight LED retrofit, which will offset the cost of borrowing, which is $270,000 per year,” Musgnug said. “So we actually more than offset the cost of installation.”

The comptroller also said the town should anticipate equipment purchases and construction in 2016, mostly because of the first phase of Smithtown Animal Shelter renovations as well as upgrades at the town marina, which collectively require about $3.1 million in financing.

The following year, he said, those projects would require about $6 million in funding overtime to complete.
After the comptroller’s report, Councilman Ed Wehrheim (R) said he was impressed by the thoroughness of Musgnug’s pitch and wants to make sure the town follows through on capital projects after setting aside funding for them.

“Overall, I think it’s excellent,” he said. “In past years, we borrowed money and put up capital projects, but they never got done. Let’s make sure someone oversees these.”

In his report, Musgnug said even if the town chose to borrow more money as recommended, it would still see its overall debt steadily drop because of its conservative fiscal management policies.

“You should be commended for putting the town into a position where it can borrow significant sums of money and still have declining debt service payments [for which] it must budget,” he said.

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