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Commack, Kings Park, Smithtown districts’ numbers dip while Huntington reports increase in students last year

Superintendent James Grossane file photo

Enrollment numbers are in flux for western North Shore school districts like Commack, Huntington, Kings Park and Smithtown, but superintendents are planning accordingly for the future.

A Western Suffolk BOCES report released in March pegged an overall 6.9 percent decline in enrollment numbers of elementary and middle school students from 89,532 in 2008 to 83,336 in 2014. Some of the districts suffering the larger numbers of enrollment dips included Commack, Kings Park and Smithtown — the largest district under the Western Suffolk BOCES region — but Huntington’s district, however, was named one of only three districts to see an enrollment increase over the last few years.

Overall regional enrollment is projected to decline by 5,396 students, or 6.5 percent, over the next three years, as elementary and middle school enrollment figures progress through the system, according to the report.

“The number of births in Suffolk County declined from 21,252 in 1990 to 15,521 in 2013 (preliminary data),” the report said. “Smaller kindergarten classes replaced larger exiting twelfth-grade classes each year since 2008. As these smaller cohorts continue to move through the system, losses are projected in elementary, middle and secondary grade enrollment from 2014 to 2017.”

Commack and Kings Park each suffered a little more than 13 percent dips in enrollment between 2008 and 2014, the report said — the greatest losses of any Western Suffolk BOCES district during that time. But Timothy Eagen, superintendent of schools for the Kings Park Central School District, said there was no need for panic.

Eagen said his district hit historical enrollment numbers back in 2006 at 4,192 students and then saw that figure slowly drop over the following years to 3,511 this year. Looking ahead, Kings Park projected 3,391 enrollment by the coming September.

“The reason for the enrollment decline is fairly simple,” Eagen said. “The incoming kindergarten class has been smaller than the graduating twelfth-grade class of the previous year since 2007.”

Eagen said enrollment numbers should stabilize in the not-too-distant future, as the district moves forward with a staff-neutral budget that allows for reductions in class sizes.

“Class sizes are finally moving in a good direction, and I have received some very positive feedback from the community on this,” he said.

The Commack School District, which did not return requests for comment, saw its enrollment figures drop from 7,830 in 2008 to 6,778 in 2014.

Smithtown’s numbers started at 10,844 in 2008 and dropped about 250 students per year to 9,704 by 2014, the report said, and school Superintendent James J. Grossane said the Smithtown Board of Education was working diligently to prepare for the shift. The superintendent said the district is bracing for an ongoing dip through the year 2023, when he projects a total enrollment of 7,316.

The BOCES report said Smithtown saw a 26 percent drop in housing sales between 2007 and 2012 but did note sales went up between 2012 and 2013 by 36.2 percent, showing a generally stabilizing market.

Meanwhile, Smithtown’s BOE convened a housing committee in April 2014 comprised of a broad cross section of school community members as well as members of the Smithtown community at large to analyze the district’s future housing needs in light of a continuous decline in enrollment, Grossane said. That committee made various recommendations to the BOE back in March, including closing one elementary school no sooner than the 2016-17 school year but did not specify which one. It also suggested the BOE considered a potential middle school closure for the 2022-23 school year if enrollment continues to decline at its current rate, pending a study from the BOE’s Citizens’ Advisory Committee on Instruction and Housing.

The Huntington school district, which did not return requests for comment, was one of three districts to record enrollment increases between 2013 and 2014 at 1.8 percent alongside Copiague and Wyandanch, bringing its 2014 number up to 4,446 from 4,384 in 2008.

The same could not be said, however, for its neighboring school district in Northport-East Northport, where numbers declined from 6,410 in 2008 to 5,686 in 2014.

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Town Board changes decision-making process when granting contracts based on ‘best value’

Town Board members mull over the proposal to add a chapter to the town code changing the ways contracts are bidded out at a previous public hearing. Photo by Phil Corso

Smithtown’s Town Board unanimously green-lighted the adding of a chapter to the town code that awards bids based on best value rather than simply giving contracts to the lowest bidder.

The change came pursuant to a state general municipal law that allowed towns to authorize the awarding of certain purchase contracts, including contracts for services exceeding $20,000, based on best value, which Assistant Town Attorney Janice Hansen described as more cost efficient in the long term, as opposed to the cheapest option in the short term.

“The best value option may be used if, for example, it is more cost efficient over time to award the good or service to other than the lowest bidder or offerer, if factors such as lower cost of maintenance, durability, higher quality and longer product life can be documented,” she said at an April 7 public hearing on the matter.

Contracts for public works projects, however, were not included under the new chapter, Hansen said.
The state law described the standards for best value as projects that “optimize quality, cost and efficiency among responsive and responsible bidders or offerers.”

But Charlie Gardner, director of government affairs for the Long Island chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association, spoke on behalf of his group’s 47 different electrical contractors in Nassau and Suffolk counties in saying there were concerns over the wording of the measure. By awarding contracts based on best value and not just price, Gardner said he was worried about the level of subjectivity that might arise in the decision-making process and was simply looking for reassurance from the board.

“If you read the standards for best value, it does cite where possible determinants should be based on objective and quantifiable analysis of clearly described and documented criteria, which is fine,” he said. “But why does it say, ‘Where possible?’ Shouldn’t it always be the determination based on that? We’re not quibbling with the intent of the law and we certainly have faith in the current Town Board, but down the road, when subjectivity enters into it, that’s the concern of my members.”

Smithtown Supervisor Patrick Vecchio said the board would take Gardner’s concerns into consideration in making future decisions on contracts and also ensure any awards are justified as they are rolled out.

The state law requires that entities must document their reasoning for awarding a contract based on best value instead of to the lowest responsible bidder.

Smithtown’s Town Board voted 5-0 in support of the measure at its April 23 meeting, making the new chapter supersede any inconsistent provisions of the town’s procurement policy enacted before the unanimous vote.

Middle Country’s Christine Gironda races Smithtown West’s Natalie Lynch for the ground ball off the draw in the Mad Dogs’ 17-13 win over the Bulls on May 8. With the win, Middle Country goes undefeated in regular season play. Photo by Desirée Keegan

The Middle Country girls’ lacrosse team has made history, finishing a perfect season Friday with a 17-13 win over Smithtown West, to go undefeated for the first time in district history.

“The girls played awesome today, and honestly, at practice yesterday, we didn’t even talk about being undefeated,” Middle Country head coach Lindsay Dolson said. “These girls are smart, great lacrosse players. I don’t do much but steer the ship. Now we’re back to 0-0, and let the playoffs begin.”

Middle Country’s Nikki Ortega gains possession of the ball in the Mad Dogs’ zone, in her team’s 17-13 win over Smithtown West on May 8. With the win, Middle Country finished the regular season undefeated at 16-0, with a 14-0 mark in Division I. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Middle Country’s Nikki Ortega gains possession of the ball in the Mad Dogs’ zone, in her team’s 17-13 win over Smithtown West on May 8. With the win, Middle Country finished the regular season undefeated at 16-0, with a 14-0 mark in Division I. Photo by Desirée Keegan

The victory places the team first in Division I.

The Mad Dogs were off to a strong start as usual, lighting up the scoreboard and rattling off seven unanswered goals before Smithtown West midfielder Mackenzie Heldberg, a junior, put the Bulls’ first point on the board. Each team scored four more goals in the first half, to bring the score to 11-5 heading into the break.

“Every game we’re growing, we’re coming together and our chemistry is amazing on and off the field,” senior midfielder and attack Nikki Ortega said. “We’re best friends off the field, and it really shows when we play on the field. I’m so proud of the team, and it’s really all come together.”

Ortega got the ball rolling in the second half after senior goalkeeper Ashley Miller made a big save. Ortega passed the ball to classmate Allison DiPaola, who knocked a shot in early for the 12-5 advantage.

Senior midfielder Christine Gironda continued to aid the Mad Dogs in gaining possession off the draw, which helped her team continue to score and maintain its lead.

“Momentum is everything in this game, and winning the draws gave us so much more momentum and really put us up,” Ortega said.

Ortega continued a series of strong assists when she passed the ball to her younger sister, Jamie, a sophomore midfielder, and Miller followed with two saves to keep the Bulls at bay.

Middle Country’s Amanda Masullo squeezes between Smithtown West’s Kalya Kosubinsky and Katie Aldrich as she moves the ball up the field in the Mad Dogs’ 17-13 win over the Bulls on May 8. With the win, Middle Country goes undefeated in regular season play. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Middle Country’s Amanda Masullo squeezes between Smithtown West’s Kalya Kosubinsky and Katie Aldrich as she moves the ball up the field in the Mad Dogs’ 17-13 win over the Bulls on May 8. With the win, Middle Country goes undefeated in regular season play. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“That’s not how they play — they were definitely intimidated, without a doubt,” Smithtown West head coach Carie Bodo said of her team. “I think they put so much pressure on themselves, but in the second half, they were pissed, and they came out and played, and we outscored [Middle Country] in the second half.”

It took a little while for the Bulls to find their groove, and after Nikki Ortega scored off an assist from her younger sister to make the score 16-6 with 15:45 left to play, Smithtown West came back to score five unanswered goals — two by sophomore midfielder Kayla Kosubinsky — and force Middle Country to call a timeout.

“I think in the second half we really stepped it up,” Kosubinsky said. “I think we needed to figure out what we needed to do quicker in the game before there wasn’t much time left, but these girls are amazing and every person has their own role on this team and I think we all work so good together.”

The Mad Dogs regrouped in their huddle.

“This’ll show how much you want it,” Nikki Ortega said to her team. “If we want it, we’ll win.”

Jamie Ortega dished the ball to DiPaola for her hat trick goal, and although the Bulls tacked on two more to end the scoring for the game, Miller made two more stops, leaving the Mad Dogs with an undefeated season at 16-0 with a 14-0 mark in conference play.

Middle Country’s Jamie Ortega shoots the ball over a swarm of Smithtown West players in her team’s 17-13 win over the Bulls on May 8. With the win, the Mad Dogs finished the regular season undefeated at 16-0, with a 14-0 mark in Division I. Photo by Desirée Keegan
Middle Country’s Jamie Ortega shoots the ball over a swarm of Smithtown West players in her team’s 17-13 win over the Bulls on May 8. With the win, the Mad Dogs finished the regular season undefeated at 16-0, with a 14-0 mark in Division I. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“Once you have your first save down you have the adrenaline to keep going,” Miller said. “We all try to stay positive and we don’t get down on each other, but bring each other up. I feel like we have good motion going on, and we’re going to keep it going.”

Nikki Ortega finished the game with four goals and five assists, while Jamie Ortega also finished with nine points, off five goals and four assists. Behind DiPaola’s hat trick was sophomore Ava Barry and eighth-grader Sophie Alois with two goals. Sophomore midfielder Amanda Masullo tacked on a goal and an assist, and her twin sister Rachel rounded out the scoring with an assist, while Miller finished with a game-high eight saves.

“It’s something I never dreamed of ever doing,” Nikki Ortega said of going undefeated. “Although it puts a lot of pressure on us for playoffs, it’s the most incredible feeling.”

She feels her team still needs to work on being more composed, especially when its opponent applies pressure and comes back in a game. However, she thinks her team has what it takes to go further than its semifinal appearance last season.

“We have to keep our heads up,” she said. “Every game I play like it’s my last. This is how I’d want to end my season and my career at Middle Country. I think if there was any year that we could go all the way, it’s this year.”

Dangerous duo
Two men from Commack — one a 22-year-old, the other 23 years old— were arrested at the precinct in Smithtown and charged assault with intent to cause serious physical injury. Police said the two men, while working in concert with one another, punched and struck a male victim in the head with an object, causing physical injury, on July 5, 2014. One man was arrested on April 26, the other man was arrested on May 3.

An expensive habit
Police arrested a 24-year-old woman in Smithtown on April 28 and charged her with two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, in one instance, with intent to sell. Police also said she had a bench warrant out for her arrest. On April 23 by 3:23 p.m., police said she sold a quantity of heroin to someone in exchange for cash. She was arrested on April 28 at 6:10 a.m. on Blydenburg Avenue in Smithtown.

Ford-ified with tape
An 18-year-old woman from Holbrook was arrested in Smithtown at the precinct on April 27 and charged with third-degree criminal mischief, with damages greater than $250. Police said the woman damaged a 2005 Ford, scratching the car with her key and affixing duct tape to the vehicle’s paint.

Boozy temper tantrum
A 32-year-old man from Stony Brook was arrested in Smithtown at 5:25 a.m. on April 26 and charged with resisting arrested and disorderly conduct: obstructing traffic. Police said the man, who was highly intoxicated, and arrested at the corner of Edgewood Avenue and Glenrich Drive in St. James, was standing in the middle of the street, obstructing traffic and being violent and belligerent as cars tried to pass.  He also refused to comply with an officer’s demand to place hands behind his back. When he was transported to the 4th Precinct, he refused to get out of the police vehicle, but eventually did.

The smoking gun
A Smithtown man filed a report on May 3 against his male neighbor on Route 111, claiming the neighbor was yelling at him. Police said the dispute erupted over an ongoing issue: the neighbor smoking on his patio. The complainant told police smoke drifts into his property.

Tire troubles
Two cars were damaged in separate incidents on Pine Acre Drive in Smithtown sometime between 11 p.m. on April 27 and 5 a.m. on April 28. Police said an unknown person punctured the front driver-side tires of a 2008 Toyota Highlander and a 2013 Dodge Ram using an unknown object.

Plate stolen
Someone took a license plate affixed to a 2008 Kawasaki motorcycle parked at LA Fitness on East Main Street in Smithtown sometime on April 27.

Storefront damaged
Someone gouged the front door and frame of Andre’s Precision Auto on Smithtown Boulevard, causing damage near the locks, sometime between 8 p.m. on April 30 and 9 a.m. on May 1.

Gimme my money
A man at Americas Best Value Inn on Nesconset Highway in Nesconset told police on April 26 that another person he knows at the inn pushed him because he asked him for $25 he wanted back. No one pressed charges, police said.

Bad reality checks
A 19-year-old man from Huntington was arrested in Huntington on May 2 and charged with two counts of petit larceny. Police said that, in separate incidents, he took the checking account numbers of two individuals and cashed checks. The incidents occurred on April 3 and April 13.

Crash ‘n go
Police said a 46-year-old Hauppauge male was arrested on April 28 in Huntington at the 2nd Precinct and charged with leaving the scene of a car accident. Police said the man was driving a 2008 Toyota on Broadhollow Road in Melville on April 10 at 2 p.m. and he collided with a 2000 Jeep, causing damage to the rear end of the vehicle. He failed to stop and speak with the driver.

Burglarized bling
A 40-year-old man from Huntington Station was arrested in Huntington on April 27 at the 2nd Precinct and charged with fourth-degree grand larceny of property valued at more than $1,000. Police said that sometime between 1 a.m. and 11 p.m. on April 26, the man removed an iPad, gold and a watch.

Popo push
A 22-year-old woman from Central Islip was arrested in Greenlawn on April 30 at about 9:20 a.m. and charged with second-degree obstructing governmental administration. Police said she pushed a police officer trying to take down a police report.

Best friends forever
A man claimed his friend punched him in the face and kicked him on May 2 on East 13th Street and Varney Avenue in Huntington. The victim was taken to the hospital.

Prints, kettle missing
A Huntington man told police that he discovered several items missing when he went to his dad’s house on Marine Street to help him pack his belongings. The items included a Currier and Ives lithographic print and a solid copper kettle. The incidents occurred sometime between April 21 at noon and April 25 at 3 p.m.

Cat fight
Two female friends punched, kicked and pulled each other’s hair at a house on Park Avenue in Huntington. The incident was reported on May 3 and no one is pressing charges.

Food fight
On April 29, an employee at Wendy’s in Port Jefferson Station reported that a co-worker scratched their arm, causing minor redness. No charges have been filed.

Bulking up
An unknown person stole three protein bars from a gas station on Route 112 in Port Jefferson Station on April 29 shortly after 4:30 p.m.

Clipped
A man was making a deposit at Bank of America in Port Jefferson Station on May 1 when he left his money clip on the counter. When he returned shortly after, the money clip and the cash it contained were missing.

Fore!
The windshield of a 2013 Honda was damaged on May 3 while parked at a residence on Village Green Drive in Port Jefferson Station. An errant golf ball from the neighboring golf course may have been to blame.

Mystery fire
An unknown person set a grassy median, property of Suffolk County, ablaze on County Road 83 in Mount Sinai on May 4. If caught, the person could face a fifth-degree arson charge for the 2:30 p.m. incident.

Bandits
Two unknown males entered a residence on Canal Road in Miller Place shortly after midnight on April 30 and stole property including cash, a rifle and a wallet.

Through the window
An unknown person entered a Patchogue Drive home in Rocky Point through an unlocked window on April 30 at some point between 9:10 a.m. and 9:10 p.m. The suspect rifled through drawers, closets and medicine cabinets and stole jewelry, a Sirius radio docking station and a laptop.

Tale of the robber
A woman discovered property from her 2015 Nissan Murano was missing while on her way home from North Shore Public Library in Shoreham on April 28. Police said a tablet and its case, a wallet — including a driver’s license and debit and credit cards — were stolen from the unlocked car while it was parked at the library.

Flagged
An unknown person destroyed a flagpole at a residence on Briarcliff Road in Shoreham in the early morning of May 2. The person broke the pole in half and then stole the flag.

Secret garden
An unknown person entered and stole items from a garden nursery on Middle Country Road in Centereach between May 1 and May 2. According to police, the person entered through an unlocked door and stole two iPhones, one iPad and assorted coins.

Passed out
A 23-year-old Centereach man was arrested on May 2 after police observed his vehicle stopped at the center of Huron Street and Dillon Avenue in Port Jefferson Station. Police said the man, who was impaired by drugs, was passed out in his 2002 Hyundai and the keys were still in the car’s ignition.

Teen angst
Four West Babylon teens were arrested in Selden on first-degree robbery, displaying a firearm, on April 28. According to police, the four teens — three aged 17 and one aged 15 — entered a Middle Country Road gas station shortly after 10 p.m. and threatened an employee with what appeared to be a weapon and demanded money.

Household items stolen
Someone stole household items and cleaners after walking through the garden department at the Walmart on Nesconset Highway in Setauket-East Setauket on April 26.

Phone jacked
Someone playing basketball at Sayville Coastal Sports on West Road in Setauket-East Setauket told police that he returned to his gym bag to find his iPhone stolen. He reported the incident on April 26.

Window screen damaged
A female complainant told police that she opened a window in her home on Old Town Road in Setauket-East Setauket and found the screen cut. The window was not damaged. The report came in on April 25.

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Smithtown Councilman Bob Creighton. File photo by Rachel Shapiro

Smithtown Councilman Bob Creighton (R) is reaching out to Suffolk County as he continues to push a plan that would reform the town’s government setup.

It has been nearly two months since the town board last discussed the government restructure proposal, which Creighton and Councilman Ed Wehrheim (R) advocated for at a work session in March. Officials renewed discussion Tuesday morning when Creighton said he would be asking Suffolk County Personnel Director Alan Schneider to attend an upcoming work session and offer insight on how other municipalities endured a similar reform.

Under the plan, Smithtown would restructure its government services by placing a commissioner at the head of various departments, similar to operations in neighboring municipalities. For example, there would be one commissioner per department heading up areas like public safety, public works, planning and development and of human services, overseeing all levels of the town’s government.

“This is a very desirable place to live and we could improve on the way we run government,” Creighton reiterated at Tuesday morning’s work session. “I do think this would be an improvement because we would have far more accountability.”

Creighton said neighboring municipalities, including Brookhaven, already had similar makeups, differing greatly from Smithtown’s current structure of appointing councilmembers as liaisons to check in on various department heads.

“We do have liaison relationships with these various departments, but liaison is liaison,” Creighton said. “Direct control is something else.”

Smithtown Supervisor Pat Vecchio (R), however, remained unimpressed by the proposal, as he was when it was discussed two months ago. While he said he was open to the prospect of Schneider coming to the board to discuss the restructuring, he did not feel it would sway him in favor of doing it.

Vecchio said in March he was worried that such a reform would bring about more political obstructionism in Smithtown, saying he felt the town already runs efficiently and that there is risk of losing sight of that by changing power.

“I have no problem with the town board. I really don’t,” Vecchio said. “I think we run very well. I’m not convinced this will make the town run any better. I just don’t see the need.”

When the plan was discussed in March, Councilman Tom McCarthy (R) called for a financial analysis on such a proposal so as not to cost Smithtown taxpayers any additional dollars. Creighton brought that concern to the table Tuesday morning, suggesting that if commissioners were chosen out of the pool of current town employees, no additional costs would be accrued.

“We can use people from within and it will not cost the taxpayer anything,” Creighton said. “It’s a more reasonable span of control.”

The next work session is scheduled for June 2 at town hall.

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Smithtown West’s Jimmy Caddigan dives and shoots the ball past Riverhead’s goalkeeper in the Bulls’ 14-0 win over the Blue Waves on Friday, May 1st. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

The Smithtown West boys’ lacrosse team blew the Riverhead Blue Waves out of the water in a dominating performance on its home turf Friday afternoon.

In a tune up game for the playoff-bound Bulls, the team controlled the draw, the clock and the time of possession, and shut out Riverhead, 14-0, to improve to 8-2 with two games left to play in regular season, League II play.

Smithtown West’s Jarrod Wilkom maintains possession with a Riverhead defender at his hip, in the Bulls’ 14-0 win over the Blue Waves on Friday, May 1st. Photo by Bill Landon
Smithtown West’s Jarrod Wilkom maintains possession with a Riverhead defender at his hip, in the Bulls’ 14-0 win over the Blue Waves on Friday, May 1st. Photo by Bill Landon

Smithtown hit the scoreboard quickly and often, and freshman attack Kyle Zawadzki put away a pair in just over three minutes of play. The first, was off a feed from senior midfielder Jarrod Wilkom.

The Bulls rattled off five more goals to take a 7-0 lead into the second quarter.

Smithtown sophomore attack Jimmy Caddigan got on the scoreboard first, and sophomore midfielder Danny Riley tacked on the next. Senior attack Brennan Laforge found the cage twice — on his second, the ball ricocheted off the pipe and he snagged the rebound and drove his shot home — and Riley struck again for the final goal of the quarter.

“In the second half we took over on offense, but they’re a tough team,” Riley said.

Smithtown junior midfielder Dan Caroussos fed a diving Zawadzki in front of the cage, and while airborne, Zawadzki buried his shot before touching ground, for his hat trick to put his team out front 8-0.

Zawadzki wasn’t finished, and scored his fourth goal of the game off a feed from senior midfielder Garrett Brunsvold, to lead by nine to end the half.

The Bulls opened the second half with possession thanks to junior midfielder Danny Varello’s mastery at the faceoff “X,” and from there, they slowed the tempo of the game. Smithtown’s passing remained solid and deliberate throughout the game, as the team circled the cage looking for any opportunity. Opportunity came knocking three minutes into the third quarter, and Caroussos fired a shot between the pipes to surge ahead 10-0.

“We played very well today, our defense communicated very well and Zach Lamberti, our goalie who’s been playing great all season, had some big stops,” Smithtown West senior defenseman Chris Weider said. “Dan Varello at the ‘X’ won almost all of our face-offs today, and when you do that it means time of possession.”

With the heavy lead, Smithtown went to work on running down the clock. The team’s assistant coach, Tom Rotanz, barked from the sideline: “Zero-zero, get big, get wide,” as the Bull’s offense dropped back, spread out and snapped the ball around the circle, first one way, and then the other, as time bled off the clock.

Smithtown West’s Brett Disalvo passes the ball in the Bulls’ 14-0 win over Riverhead on Friday, May 1st. Photo by Bill Landon
Smithtown West’s Brett Disalvo passes the ball in the Bulls’ 14-0 win over Riverhead on Friday, May 1st. Photo by Bill Landon

Riverhead’s goalkeeper, fresh off a big stop, looked to clear the ball to a defender at his right, only to have Smithtown junior attack Nick Cascone take flight and snatch the ball from the defender’s waiting stick.

Upon landing, Cascone fed the ball to Caddigan in front of the cage. Caddigan snapped one by the startled keeper and put his team up 11-0.

“One of the things we’ve focused on all year is limiting our turnover,s because when you play the better teams, they’re going to beat you on it,” Caddigan said. “When you have the ball, they don’t, and when you have a face-off guy like Varello, you control the game.”

Rounding out the final three goals for Smithtown was freshman attack Matt Miller, Laforge, for his hat trick, and junior midfielder Brett Disalvo.

Smithtown head coach Bob Moltisanti was pleased with all aspects of his team’s game, and in particular, that of his senior goalkeeper.

“Danny Varello had an excellent game at the ‘X,’ and Zach Lamberti did a nice job in the cage turning away some of their good chances,” he said. “Our defense played close and we were able to shut the door on [Riverhead] a few times. Our attack did an excellent job on the ride — turning them over — and that created scoring chances for us in transition.”

With two games remaining in the regular season, Moltisanti said his strategy is to continue to take the season one game at a time.

“I’m happy if we get better every time we’re on the practice field, and we get better every game we play,” Moltisanti. “And right now, all we’re thinking about is getting ready for Copiague.”

Smithtown West hosted Copiague Wednesday, but results were not available by press time. The Bulls will conclude the regular season with a game at West Islip on Tuesday, May 12, at 5 p.m.

Biologist, outdoorsman Eric Powers plans special event at Smithtown spot as spring weather arrives

Ranger Eric Powers with an eastern screech owl. Photo from Carole Paquette

The warmer weather has Smithtown residents spreading their wings and one upcoming event at a town park offers a literal translation of the phrase.

Biologist and outdoorsman Eric Powers will be hitting the North Shore next week to conduct a birding walk at Smithtown’s own Caleb Smith State Park Preserve on Jericho Turnpike.

Having extensively explored the historic Caleb Smith park, Ranger Eric — as most North Shore students know him — will lead attendees to some of his favorite locations to see birds and other wildlife, as well as highlighting plants and freshwater springs, the lifeblood of the park.

A former park ranger in Colorado, Powers led nature hikes until he joined the Peace Corps as an environmental education officer for two years. In 2005, he started his own company, Your Connection To Nature, dedicated to meaningful environmental education programs and ecotourism. These programs connect classrooms to field studies and give people a deeper understanding of their local environment.

Powers’ latest endeavors include a monthly cable TV series about Long Island nature, the Marine Explorers Summer Camp in Babylon and the original bobwhite quail vs. ticks project.

For more information, visit his website at www.yc2n.com.

The event, slated for Saturday, May 9, from 9 to 10:30 a.m., includes a preregistration requirement as space is limited. For more information, residents can call 366-3288 or 265-1054. The free event is part of the 2015 lecture series sponsored by the Friends of Caleb Smith Preserve, and will involve walking about two miles.

Walkers are urged to wear sensible footwear and bring binoculars and a camera with a telephoto lens, if they are able.

For more information about the activities and events of the park’s friends, visit www.friendsofcalebsmith.org.

Sunken Meadow State Park Director Jeffrey J. Mason meets Smithtown West High School's Rachel Gladstone to review plans for the Sunken Meadow Recycling Project 5K Race and 1/2 Mile Fun Run for Kids. Photo from Allison Gayne

A Smithtown West High School junior is going the extra mile and hosting a recycling project in the form of a 5-kilometer race at Sunken Meadow State Park in June to promote a greener mindset across Long Island.

Rachel Gladstone, 17, has arranged the first ever Sunken Meadow Recycling Project 5K Race and 1/2 Mile Fun Run for Kids at Sunken Meadow State Park as her community project for the Girl Scout Gold Award she is working toward.

“I wanted to do something for the community at Sunken Meadow [State Park],” Gladstone said in a phone interview. “I really wanted to do something big and worthwhile.”

The cross-country runner said the idea came to her while passing through the park and seeing just how many recyclables were being thrown into the trash. She coupled that knowledge with knowing the park hosts several races, and let the two notions work together to form her own unique project.

“Every time I go there, I see trash cans always full to the top with bottles,” Gladstone said.

Gladstone said one of her biggest goals is to take the money raised at the run and buy recycling bins to place at various locations throughout the 1288-acre park and to also help promote recycling behavior by taking extra measures to make the bins visible to the public.

The teen said she is very big into environmental science and recycling, and she hopes to study it at the college level once she graduates form high school. Her mom, Ellyn Gladstone, said her daughter has been interested in recycling since an early age and she is happy to see her putting this project together.

The Gold Award that Gladstone is working so hard toward is the highest achievement in girl scouting, she said. It is a seven-step project that challenges the scout to change the world, and requires a minimum 80 hours of work — something Gladstone is sure to surpass as she continues to organize and promote the race.

According to one of Gladstone’s troop leaders, Paula Rybacki, the high school student has achieved all the major awards since becoming a girl scout in elementary school and the project she is working on is one of the biggest she has seen.

“This project is very different,” Rybacki said. “I’m really proud of her.”

Jeffrey Mason, the park director at Sunken Meadow State Park, said he was approached by Gladstone, who was hoping to make a difference, and he quickly got on board with the idea as he understands the six bins the park has now is not enough.

“We’re going to put them out in key locations and find the best fit where they get utilized,” Mason said. “We are going to start out small, the more people see, the more education.”

The event will kick off on June 13 with its 1/2 Mile Fun Run for Kids at 9:15 a.m. followed by the 5-kilometer run at 10 a.m. An award ceremony will be held at 11:30 a.m. to recognize top overall males and females in various age groups.

Race participants can take advantage of an early bird special entry fee of $20 until May 1. After that the fee is $25 until the day before the race. On the day of the race, runners will pay $30 to participate.

Smithtown has been doing its part to increase the frequency and accessibility of recycling, recently inking a deal with several neighboring municipalities to bring single-stream recycling to residents across the Island.

The various deals help Smithtown team up with other communities to share resources, making it easier for residents to recycle in one bin and have the items transferred at a minimal cost.

The town has already linked up with Brookhaven, the incorporated villages of Lloyd Harbor and Asharoken, to name a few.

And as the race approaches, Gladstone said she hopes this is just the beginning of a greater shift in recycling across the Island. She said she would like to hold a similar event annually at parks across Long Island to help promote recycling.

“I realize I’m not too young to make a difference,” Gladstone said. “This is just the beginning.”

Burglar busted
A 22-year-old Port Jefferson Station man was arrested on Ontario Street on April 22 at about 12:45 p.m. and charged with possessing burglary tools. Police said the man was found inside an abandoned home with black gloves, a hammer, a fire iron, metal snips and a chisel.

Napkin-thin defense
Police said a 22-year-old man from Port Jefferson Station was arrested on April 26 and charged with assault, recklessly causing physical injury. Police said that at about 12:53 a.m. at Schafer’s restaurant on West Broadway in Port Jefferson, the man threw a napkin dispenser at someone, resulting in a laceration on the victim’s right eye that required medical attention.

Streetfighter
A 29-year-old man from Port Jefferson was arrested on Main Street on April 21 at about 6:55 p.m. and charged with disorderly conduct, fighting/violent behavior and resisting arrest. Police said the man was fighting with another man in the middle of the street.

First cut is the deepest
A 20-year-old woman from Rocky Point was arrested on April 23 at about 10:30 p.m. and charged with assault with intent to cause physical injury with a weapon. Police said the woman slashed another woman with a knife in a parking lot on County Road 83 in Holtsville.

Drug dealer caught
Police arrested a 28-year-old man from Centereach on Middle Country Road on April 23 and charged him with third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance. He was also charged with four counts of criminal possession of a narcotic drug, four counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell and one count of criminal possession of a controlled substance. Police said the man was found that day at about 1:37 p.m. in possession of heroin. He was arraigned the next day and held in lieu of posting a $20,000 cash or $40,000 bail bond, according to court records.

It wasn’t me
A 35-year-old man from Selden was arrested on April 21 and charged with third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and second-degree criminal impersonation. Police said he gave a fake name and fake identification at Mooney Pond Road and South Bicycle Path in Selden and was arrested at the scene at 3:46 p.m.

Facing the music
Police arrested a 23-year-old Selden man on April 24 and charged him with two counts of petit larceny and one count of fourth-degree grand larceny of property valued at more than $1,000. Police said the man stole a Bose sound bar and a Sony bluetooth speaker from a location on Horseblock Road in Medford on two separate days. He also took five watches from a location in Sayville on April 16.

ShopWrong
A 34-year-old Selden woman was arrested on April 24 and charged with leaving the scene of property damage. Police said on April 18 the woman backed her 2006 GMC Envoy into a Honda Civic in the parking lot of ShopRite on College Plaza at about 9 p.m.

Bills, bills, bills
A 21-year-old man from Bellport was arrested in Stony Brook late on April 23 and charged with first-degree possession of a forged instrument. Police said the man had two counterfeit $10 bills and six counterfeit $50 bills.

Let’s bounce
A man told police a bouncer at Junior’s Spycoast on Main Street in Port Jefferson pushed him at 3:20 a.m. on April 26. There were no arrests.

Hotmail
Someone set off fireworks in a mailbox, causing it to melt, at a home on Old Rocky Point Road in Miller Place sometime between 9:50 and 10:20 p.m. on April 24.

Shopping for a victim
Someone lifted a purse out of a shopping cart at Marshalls on Nesconset Highway in Stony Brook sometime between 5 and 7 p.m. on April 23. The purse contained a wallet and credit cards.

Case of the stolen beer
A man walked out of Stop & Shop on Route 25A in Setauket-East Setauket with a case of beer on April 21, at about 7:47 p.m., and didn’t pay for it.

Call me
A prepaid phone was stolen from a home on William Penn Drive in Stony Brook sometime between 11 a.m. on April 18 and 1 p.m. on April 20. The incident was reported on April 22.

Stopped up
A 32-year-old man from Selden was arrested in the parking lot of a Home Depot in Setauket-East Setauket on April 21 and charged with petit larceny. Police said that at about 1:45 p.m. he took wrenches and plumbing fittings from the store.

Phoning it in
A man from Brandywine Drive in Setauket-East Setauket told police someone fraudulently accessed his AT&T wireless account to obtain an iPhone 6. The incident was reported on April 23 at 3:30 p.m. and occurred sometime between Feb. 20 and April 8.

Jeep Grand Cherokey
Someone keyed a 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee parked at Danfords Hotel & Marina on East Broadway in Port Jefferson on April 24 at about 5:30 p.m. There were no arrests.

Temper tantrum
A 32-year-old man from Stony Brook was arrested in Smithtown and charged with obstructing traffic and resisting arrest on April 26. Police said that at about 5:25 a.m. at the corner of Edgewood Avenue and Glenrich Drive in St. James he was standing in the middle of the street and became violent and belligerent as cars attempted to pass him. He also refused to comply with a police officer’s demands.

Caffeine crash
Police arrested a 17-year-old teen from Nesconset in Smithtown on April 21 and charged him with criminal mischief — reckless property damage in an amount less than $250. Police said that the teen pushed a coffee-making machine off the counter at a 7-Eleven on Smithtown Boulevard, causing damage to it at 9:52 p.m. on April 8.

Be right back
A 34-year-old woman from St. James was arrested at her home on Copperbeech Road on April 25 and charged with operating a motor vehicle and leaving the scene of an accident. The incident happened on Lake Avenue in St. James on March 19 at about 2:10 p.m., where police said the woman was involved in a reportable car accident. She was driving a 2011 Toyota Sienna and fled the scene of the accident.

Swords, bow and arrow jacked
A Smithtown complainant from Jerome Street told police someone took a laptop, bow and arrows and swords from a shopping center at 2150 Nesconset Highway in Stony Brook sometime on April 24 between 10:30 and 11:40 a.m.

Tire troubles
Two cars parked on Hawkins Avenue in Smithtown were damaged in two separate incidents that occurred on April 22 at 10 p.m., police said. Two tires of a 2007 Infiniti were damaged, and an unknown person also slashed a tire on a 2015 Kia.

Plate taken
Someone removed a license plate from a 2011 Ford pickup truck parked on Standish Place in Smithtown sometime between April 25 at 8:30 p.m. and April 26 at 8:30 p.m.

Push ‘n shove
A man told police another man pushed him at America’s Best Value Inn on Nesconset Highway in Nesconset at about 6:30 p.m. on April 26.

Fence face-lift
An unknown person spray-painted multiple sections of a fence on Pine Drive in Nesconset sometime between April 24 at 8 p.m. and April 25 at 9:30 a.m.

iSad
Someone broke the driver-side window of a 2008 Ford parked on Bennett Street in Kings Park and stole an iPad. The incident happened sometime between 11:30 p.m. on April 20 and 5:30 a.m. on April 21.

Out of tune
Someone took an electronic guitar, cable, wireless system and tuner from a 2014 Lexus parked on Lou Avenue in Kings Park sometime between April 19 at 11:30 p.m. and April 20 at 7 a.m.

Jewels, cash taken
Jewelry and cash was stolen from a home on Drew Drive in St. James sometime between 8 a.m. on March 26 and 2 p.m. on April 21.

Paper stolen
Multiple reams of paper were stolen from a school on Moriches Road in St. James sometime between March 27 and April 20.

Car climbing a tree
A 27-year-old man from Cold Spring Harbor was arrested in Huntington on April 25 and charged with driving while intoxicated with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 of 1 percent. Police said that on April 25, at about 5:48 a.m., the man was heading west on Holdsworth Drive in Huntington when he drove up an embankment at Oakwood Road and struck a tree.

Stolen car, pills and a fake check
Police arrested a 50-year-old man from Huntington on April 23 and charged him with fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and second-degree possession of a forged instrument. Police said that at the corner of Kerri Court and Park Avenue in Huntington after midnight, the man was found to be operating a stolen 2002 Toyota. He was also found with prescription pills without a prescription and also appeared to possess a fraudulent check.

Halloween shenanigans
A 17-year-old from East Northport was arrested in Huntington on April 24 and charged with third-degree criminal tampering. Police said that on Halloween last year at 8:55 p.m. on Wendy Lane in Elwood, he intentionally ran through a vinyl fence, damaging it. He was arrested at 4:40 p.m. at the precinct.

Brawler busted
Police arrested a 50-year-old man from St. James on April 20 in Huntington and charged him with third-degree assault, with intent to cause physical injury. On March 27 at about 7:40 a.m., police said the man grabbed another male by his sweatshirt on New York Avenue and both individuals fell to the ground. The man then punched the victim in the face. The victim suffered a broken nose, concussion and required medical attention, including stitches. He was arrested at the 2nd Precinct.

Persistent thief thwarted
Police said a 32-year-old East Northport man was arrested on April 26 at his home on Loret Lane in East Northport and charged with a flurry of petit larcenies in the area spanning March 25 to April 4. Sometime between March 25 and March 26 on Norton Drive in East Northport, he stole ear buds, a phone charger and cash. On March 26 at about 1:50 a.m., he stole Ray-Ban sunglasses and cash from a home on Joseph Court. That same day, he stole two portable DVD players and phone chargers from another home on Joseph Court. Sometime between April 3 at 8 p.m. and April 4 at 4:30 a.m., he stole an iPhone 5 and iPod from Tanager Lane in Fort Salonga. He also took a Garmin GPS sometime between April 3 at 11 p.m. and April 4 at 6 a.m. from a location at Gilder Court in Fort Salonga. Police said that at Bobolink Lane in Fort Salonga the man stole prescription pills.

Window broken in bar fight
A window was broken during a fight at Finley’s of Greene Street in Huntington on April 26 at 3 a.m., police said.

Man stabbed
Someone told police he was stabbed by an unknown person in a parking lot on West Hills Road in Huntington on April 26. The call came in at about 4:20 a.m. The victim said he required medical treatment.

Temple looted
Someone took money from a locked file cabinet drawer at Temple Beth El on Park Avenue in Huntington sometime March 31 and April 14. The incident was reported on April 23.

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President Christopher Alcure looks for another term, while two newcomers pursue vacated board seat

President Christopher Alcure is looking for another three-year term on the board. File photo

Three candidates are running for two separate trustee positions on the Smithtown Central School District’s Board of Education, including one incumbent and two newcomers.

The president of the board is seeking another term and will not be contested in this year’s election, while another member of the board will not seek re-election, opening up the race to two potential candidates to fill the remaining seat on the seven-member board.

MaryRose Rafferty is looking to replace outgoing Smithtown BOE member Matthew Morton, who is not seeking another term. Photo from the candidate
MaryRose Rafferty is looking to replace outgoing Smithtown BOE member Matthew Morton, who is not seeking another term. Photo from the candidate

Christopher Alcure, president of the Board of Education, is seeking another as a trustee after his current term expires July 1. Alcure first joined the board three years ago, and if elected, will remain in his position until June 2018.

At the helm, Alcure has been a mouthpiece for parents and their kids throughout the district, and his service to the board was not challenged, as no other candidate stepped up to run for his seat.

Board of Education member Matthew Morton, however, did not submit an application to run for another term once his three-year term ends July 1. Two candidates threw their names into the race for his seat, including Jeremy Thode of Nesconset and MaryRose Rafferty of Smithtown.

Thode, a proud husband and father of four girls who attend Smithtown schools, said he decided to run for the BOE because of his experience as an educator and administrator throughout his professional life.

One of Thode’s top issues, he said, was tackling how the district educates its children and making sure decisions are made in the best interests of Smithtown and not in the best interests of politics, big business or other communities. Looking ahead, he said it is important that the district refocuses its attention not on testing, but on finding ways to boost children’s feelings of acceptance and accomplishment.

If elected, I expect to assist the current BOE in advocating for children in an extremely political time,” he said. “We must focus on the children and what is best for them. I expect to put my efforts into making decisions that are best for children, [to] investigate ways to enhance the educational experience so that each child with their individual needs have the opportunity to succeed and belong in a challenging culture.”

Jeremy Thode is looking to replace outgoing Smithtown BOE member Matthew Morton, who is not seeking another term. Photo from the candidate
Jeremy Thode is looking to replace outgoing Smithtown BOE member Matthew Morton, who is not seeking another term. Photo from the candidate

Rafferty, an 11-year Smithtown resident, proud wife and mother of three, also submitted to run for Morton’s BOE seat and said she wanted a spot at the table to tackle declining enrollment, tax increases and quality education not being what it was before Common Core was implemented years ago. For the past 11 years, she said, she has been actively involved with the district, serving as Special Education PTA president, treasurer, and member representative to district’s Citizens Advisory Committee on Instruction and Housing. She was also on the planning committee for Smithtown Parent University.

“I want to work with our educators in resolving the conflict concerning the implementation of the Common Core Standards without appropriate written curriculum that is supported by Common Core-aligned text books, work books, computer programs, and to also continue to work with and support our teachers and support staff with professional developments which will serve as a basis for delivering the strong quality education that all of our students are entitled to,” she said. “If elected, I want to ensure that our teachers receive the fair and appropriate evaluations based on student academic achievement in the classroom, local administrative review, and not the majority evaluation based on high stakes testing results.”

Votes will be cast for BOE trustees and the 2015-2016 Smithtown Central School District budget, adopted at the April 14 Board of Education meeting, on May 19.

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