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Stony Brook

By Ed Blair

“I don’t entirely approve of some of the things I have done, or am, or have been. But I’m me. God knows, I’m me.”

Iconic actress Elizabeth Taylor’s self-appraisal references a life that ranged from the sensation of stardom to the sensationalism of tabloids. She was one of the last superstars of the Hollywood studio tradition, and her life and career, both on and off screen, were a source of entertainment for decades.

Elizabeth Taylor. Photo from the WMHO
Elizabeth Taylor. Photo from the WMHO

Audiences can listen to the legendary actress’ tale as the Ward Melville Heritage Organization presents “The Elizabeth Taylor Story” May 9 through June 17 at its Educational & Cultural Center, 97P Main St., Stony Brook. The popular musical theater and high-tea luncheon series returns to the center with a tribute to the enduring screen idol. The 1963 setting for the St. George Productions finds singer Eydie Gorme (played by Rosie Flore) headlining a musical comedy spring spectacular, with Taylor (portrayed by Lisa Mondy) as the her guest. Along with her faithful domestic, Rosie (played by Kim Dufrenoy), Gorme will talk with her glamorous visitor and delve into the roller coaster ride that marked both a distinguished acting career and an often turbulent personal life. A light lunch of finger sandwiches will follow the show.

The cast members weighed in with their thoughts about the star of the show.

“I think people will walk away with a different perception of Elizabeth Taylor. As she tells her story, you realize that she herself never took her stardom seriously. She felt fabricated by the movie studios, which staged her look as well as with whom she was seen. She never really wanted all the hoopla and drama that went with being a celebrity,” said Dufrenoy.

Added Rosie Flore, “Celebrities and icons are people too. They live, love, laugh and hurt just the way we all do.”

Portraying the former movie idol, Monde said, “Elizabeth Taylor represented glamour. She represented style; she represented Hollywood stardom. At times her personal life overshadowed her screen accomplishments, but in the end, after eight marriages and numerous life-threatening illnesses, Elizabeth Taylor was a survivor.”

Born in London in 1932 to American parents who took their St. Louis art dealership abroad, Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor returned with them to the United States at age 7, as the family fled the impending war in Europe. The Taylors resettled in Los Angeles, where a family friend suggested that the arrestingly attractive Elizabeth be given a screen test at a movie studio. Her radiant good looks and charisma captivated the camera lens, and, by the time she was 10, the fledgling actress was appearing in films at Universal, MGM and 20th Century Fox. After playing several small parts, she rocketed to stardom, playing opposite Mickey Rooney, in the 1944 hit “National Velvet.” Now a child star with a contract with MGM, young Elizabeth scored another big success for her role in “Little Women” in 1949.

Blossoming into a voluptuous-figured, violet-eyed beauty as she entered her twenties, Taylor soon found herself playing opposite some of Hollywood’s top leading men. She received Academy Award nominations for her roles in “A Place in the Sun” (1951), “Raintree County” (1957), “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” (1958), “Suddenly Last Summer” (1959) and “The Taming of the Shrew” (1967). She garnered two Oscars for her role as a call girl in “BUtterfield 8” (1960) and for her definitive roll as Martha in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” in 1966.

She also appeared famously in “Giant” with James Dean (1956) and with Richard Burton in “Cleopatra” in 1963 for which she was paid the then-stunning sum of one million dollars. Taylor became an international star and appeared solo on the cover of People Magazine 14 times.

Taylor was a significant voice in the battle against AIDS, helping to raise funds for research and playing a major role in focusing public opinion on the epidemic. For her tireless efforts, she was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal in 2001.

“It is bad enough that people are dying of AIDS,” she said, “but no one should die of ignorance.”

Performances of “The Elizabeth Taylor Story” will run from May 9 through July 17 and take place on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and select Fridays at 11:30 a.m. and on Sundays at 12:30 p.m. Advance reservations are required. Tickets are $48 general admission, $45 seniors. For more information or to make a reservation, call 631-689-5888 or visit www.wmho.org.

District Attorney Tom Spota speaks at a press conference about Patrick O'Sullivan, who was convicted of raping a woman in Stony Brook in 2012. File photo by Michael Ruiz

The East Moriches man convicted of raping and sodomizing a woman in Stony Brook was sentenced to 25 years in prison on Thursday at Suffolk County Criminal Court in Riverhead, the district attorney said.

Patrick O’Sullivan has been convicted of raping a woman while she was housesitting in Stony Brook in 2012. Photo from Robert Clifford
Patrick O’Sullivan has been convicted of raping a woman while she was housesitting in Stony Brook in 2012. Photo from Robert Clifford

Patrick O’Sullivan, 23, pleaded guilty to charges of rape, criminal sexual act, burglary, sexual abuse and conspiracy in relation to the Nov. 20, 2012, incident, at a residence where his victim was house-sitting. Suffolk County District Attorney Tom Spota said the man wore a mask and carried a loaded rifle when he entered the house through an unlocked door. He fired his weapon twice and sexually assaulted the victim after restraining her with duct tape.

While in custody at the county jail following his arrest, O’Sullivan was also charged with conspiracy after prosecutors said he tried to hire a hit man to kill the victim and another person he believed would testify against him, Spota said. The plot was foiled when the man he tried to hire notified the police.

The conspiracy charge alone landed O’Sullivan a concurrent prison term of up to 25 years, Spota said.

O’Sullivan appeared before Judge Barbara Kahn in county court Thursday morning for sentencing.

At the sentencing, he apologized to the victim, who also provided a statement. He said he hoped she could one day forgive him, a spokesman for Spota said.

In a moving testimony, the woman, who is not being identified because she is the victim of a sex crime, relived the horrific experience and the subsequent days before an arrest was made.

“For over an hour that night I was terrorized, tormented and violated. He showed me bullets and told me I shouldn’t make him use them,” she said in court Tuesday. “He left me in a house tied up, naked, violated, broken and alone. It was 10 days before an arrest was made, 10 days when I couldn’t bring myself to walk outside my house. It was eight months before I could return to work.”

The victim called her attacker a sociopath who made the conscious decision to commit “purely evil acts” of violence against her and said the memories of her attack will always be with her.

“There aren’t words to accurately describe the sheer panic, terror and fear when someone walks into a room and they are dressed in all black, wearing a ski mask and pointing a rifle directly at your head,” she said. “It is a moment that never leaves you. It is a moment in time that changes you forever.”

O’Sullivan waived his right to appeal in February and a permanent order of protection was issued for the victim, the district attorney said.

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.

The Lusitania is docked in Liverpool sometime before 1912. Photo from the Michael Poirier Collection

Nancy Dorney will spend several hours at Pier A in New York City on May 7 honoring relatives she never met.

A retired shop owner from Stony Brook, Dorney will join officials from Great Britain, Ireland, Germany and other countries to pay tribute to those who took a journey that ended abruptly and in many cases tragically exactly 100 years earlier when a German submarine torpedoed and sank the British ship Lusitania off the coast of Ireland as it was heading for Liverpool.

Among the 1,198 killed that afternoon were 128 Americans, which included 39-year-old pianist Charles Harwood Knight and his 42-year-old sister Elaine. The Knights were Dorney’s great-great-uncle and aunt and, for a time, were also her grandmother Millicent Lawrence’s guardians. After the sinking, which took 18 minutes, the Knights, who were traveling in first class, were never found.

The Knights “disappeared off the face of the Earth because they decided to take the ship that day,” Dorney said.

The sinking of the Lusitania, like the loss of the Titanic three years earlier, raised questions about what actions could have prevented the death of so many at sea. It also triggered active discussion about what role the United States could or should play in World War I.

The German government had warned of an aggressive campaign to sink ships around the British Isles that they believed were carrying munitions and reinforcements for the war. Some thought the Lusitania, which, at 24 knots, was the fastest cruise ship active at the time, could avoid becoming a target. The ship, however, had shut down one of its boilers to keep down costs, bringing its top speed to 21 knots, said Michael Poirier, co-author of the book “Into the Danger Zone: Sea Crossings of the First World War.” In the waters where the Germans had been patrolling, the ship was only going 18 knots, said Poirier.

The Lusitania “was handicapped by not speeding through the danger zone,” Poirier said. There are so many “what ifs,” he added.

In the aftermath of the sinking, opinions in the United States were sharply divided over the proper course of action. Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan, who had run for president three times and was an outspoken member of the Democratic Party, urged the country to steer clear of involvement.

Bryan thought the sinking didn’t immediately require farm boys from the middle of the country to risk being “killed for the rights of wealthy Americans to travel through war zones,” said Michael Barnhart, a distinguished teaching professor in the History Department at Stony Brook.

Even if America didn’t enter the war, Bryan didn’t want the sinking to become “a line in the sand,” where, if the Germans cross that line in the future, America “paints itself into a corner and has no option but to go to war,” Barnhart continued.

Teddy Roosevelt personified the other side of this argument, urging the United States to come to the aid of the British. Roosevelt viewed the sinking of the Lusitania “as an example of barbarism,” Barnhart said.

Political cartoonists at the time described the Germans in terms similar to the way people view ISIS now, Barnhart said.

Sensing that the country wasn’t eager to become involved in war, President Woodrow Wilson demanded that “Germans give the citizens of neutral nations a chance to get away in lifeboats before the ship on which they had been sailing was sunk by a German submarine,” explained Richard Striner, a professor of history at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland. The Germans told Wilson the British had deck guns on their passenger ships that the British could use if the submarines surfaced. Wilson, Striner continued, suggested the British get rid of these guns but, not surprisingly, the British refused.

Ultimately, however, Wilson did what Bryan feared, indicating that future attacks would bring the country closer to war. In protest of the president’s posturing, Bryan resigned. In 1917, the Germans “realized that turning the U-boats loose would bring the U.S. into the war,” Barnhart said, but, they resumed their attacks anyway amid a shift in political winds in Germany. The United States joined the war on April 6, 1917.

As for Dorney, she has delved deeper into the lives of distant relatives who were important for her grandmother. Charles Knight, who people called by his middle name Harwood, was an accomplished pianist and, as Dorney described, a bit of a character. He forgot the organ music he was supposed to bring to a family funeral and played a somber version of a ragtime song from 1896, called “There’ll Be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight.”

The last anyone heard from the Knights was when they sent a note to Dorney’s grandmother that contained a list of first-class passengers aboard the Lusitania, with names including Alfred Vanderbilt and Charles Frohman. A theater producer, Frohman helped develop such stars as Ethel Barrymore and John Drew, relatives of current actress Drew Barrymore.

As the former owner of Pride’s Crossing, a housewares and furniture store in Stony Brook, Dorney said she has an appreciation for what she’s learned about the Lusitania. The woodwork on board was “beautifully made and included interior design and artwork that were magnificently done.”

Dorney and those attending the wreath-laying ceremony in New York will heed the words Poirier said are so often connected with the sinking of the Lusitania: “Lest we forget.”

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Port Jefferson’s Alden Mohacsi leaps over the high jump bar in the Royals’ 81-60 win over Stony Brook Monday, May 4. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Port Jefferson’s Spencer Cona leaps into the sand pit in the Royals’ 81-60 win over Stony Brook Monday, May 4. Photo by Bill Landon
Port Jefferson’s Spencer Cona leaps into the sand pit in the Royals’ 81-60 win over Stony Brook Monday, May 4. Photo by Bill Landon

Although the Port Jefferson boys’ track and field team is fielding 13 freshmen on a roster riddled with injuries, the Royals remain atop the League VII leaderboard with an 81-60 win over Stony Brook Monday.

According to head coach Rod Cawley, the team found itself filling holes in events that the athletes were not unaccustomed to, and the competitors came through for the team on their own home track to improve to 5-0 and tie with Wyandanch for first place in the standings.

Winner of the 800-meter event was Port Jefferson junior Billy Witrock with a time of 2 minutes, 12 seconds, despite the shorter hurdle events being his primary focus.

Port Jefferson junior Justin Julich won the 400-hurdle event in 64 seconds flat. He said he rarely runs the event, and the time became his new personal best. A three-year varsity runner, Julich, who the coach said is a superb athlete and touch competitor, also races in cross country, in the two mile and the 3,000 steeplechase, while also pole vaulting and running in the 400.

The Royals took the longest race of the day, as senior Parker Schoch crossed the finish line first in the 3,200, with a winning time of 12:09. Schoch said the conditions were less than ideal, but that didn’t stop him from also claiming first place in the 1,600 with a time of 5:09.

Port Jefferson’s James Concepcion receives the handoff from Parker Schoch in a relay event during the Royals’ 81-60 win over Stony Brook Monday, May 4. Photo by Bill Landon
Port Jefferson’s James Concepcion receives the handoff from Parker Schoch in a relay event during the Royals’ 81-60 win over Stony Brook Monday, May 4. Photo by Bill Landon

“It was windy and it was hot — it was the first warm meet we’ve had this season,” said Schoch, a four-year varsity runner who also competes in the two-mile and high jump.

Cawley said he had to lean on some freshmen to step up and fill the holes left by injured runners, but added he was pleased with their performance.

“We’re a very young team … we had guys who filled rolls today because we have a couple of injuries, and they rose to the occasion,” he said. “We had a couple of sophomores run their personal best today, which was great because our top distance runner in the state, James Burke, is out with a hamstring injury, and our top sprinter couldn’t be here today due to a family obligation.”

Cawley added that his team did well in the relay events, which is something they don’t usually do because of how young his runners are.

Port Jefferson’s Justin Julich and Parker Schoch race around the track in the Royals’ 81-60 win over Stony Brook Monday, May 4. Photo by Bill Landon
Port Jefferson’s Justin Julich and Parker Schoch race around the track in the Royals’ 81-60 win over Stony Brook Monday, May 4. Photo by Bill Landon

“We won three relays, which we don’t usually do because of the ages of the group, so that was a pleasant surprise,” the head coach said.

He was also pleased with sophomore James Concepcion, who competes in the 100, 200 and 400, and 100 and 200 relays.

“He’s an excellent young athlete — rises to the occasion when asked and will be very good one day,” Cawley said.

The Royals will take on top-seeded Wyandanch on Tuesday, May 12, at 4:30 p.m., to settle the dispute for first place in League VIII.

“For right now, we’re just focused on Wyandanch,” Cawley said. “I hope we can get healthy. If not, we’ll have to realign and adjust our strategy.”

This state Department of Environmental Conservation map hilights special groundwater protection property in yellow, which includes a lot in the center on which a North Shore developer hopes to build.

A Setauket-based civic group is drawing a line in the sand as a North Shore developer looks to build three houses on an environmentally sensitive area.

Brookhaven is home to two of Long Island’s nine special groundwater protection areas, designated by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, and Charles Krohn of Windwood Homes, Inc. has applied for variances to divide his land within one of them — in East Setauket near Franklin Avenue and John Adams Street —  into three separate plots. But Shawn Nuzzo, president of the Civic Association of the Setaukets and Stony Brook, argued the town should adhere to existing zoning laws there to protect the area’s aquifer.

The DEC’s special groundwater protection area in question is a large, oddly shaped chunk of land on the North Shore that includes Stony Brook University, St. Georges Golf and Country Club, Ward Melville High School, wooded properties on the southern part of Setauket, pieces of Lake Grove and more.

“[This area] is critical to ensuring the future potability of our underground water supply,” Nuzzo said in a statement read aloud at the April 22 Brookhaven Town Board of Zoning Appeals meeting. “Granting variances to allow for these substandard lots would serve to undermine not only the state environmental conservation law, but also … Brookhaven’s own adopted comprehensive land use plan.”

The civic president said the town granted the area special protection in its 1996 land use plan — the most recently adopted plan to date — because of its environmental significance. In his testimony, Nuzzo asked the town to deny the requested variances solely to protect the environmental standards already in place, adding he was not opposed to development all together.

“If the applicant wishes to develop this property, we recommend they adhere to the town’s existing zoning ordinances,” he said.

Krohn, who lives in East Setauket, purchased the land from the town in September 2014 and said he was looking to build three homes between 3,000 and 3,500 square feet in the same community where Windwood Homes has already been developing for years.

“The houses might, in fact, be smaller than this footprint,” he said at last month’s Board of Zoning Appeals meeting. “These are not sold right now.”

Diane Moje of D&I Expediting Services in Farmingville represented Krohn at the hearing and said the goal was to make three equal lots for development.

East Setauket resident Thomas Cardno has lived near Franklin Avenue for nearly a decade and said he worries that overdevelopment would create a safety risk for young children, referring to the variance proposals as “jamming three homes on there” as a means to maximize profits at the expense of the families in the area.

The cul-de-sacs in the area are too crammed already, he said. “Just put two homes in there and call it a day, at this point.”

Moje, however, said the town has already granted similar variances for other homes in the surrounding area, making the current proposal nothing out of the ordinary.

“This is not out of character and not something this board hasn’t addressed previously, and granted,” she said.

Christopher Wrede of the Brookhaven Town Planning Department reviewed the proposal and said the variances posed no significant environmental impact. The Board of Zoning Appeals held the public hearing open, to get additional information in the coming months.

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Chabad co-directors Rabbi Chaim and Rivkie Grossbaum visit the site of the new building construction on Nicolls Road. Photo from Rebecca Itzhaky

The days of celebrating in rented spaces are coming to an end for the North Shore-based Chabad at Stony Brook Jewish community.

Since acquiring its first space at the Lake Grove Jewish Center in 1990, Chabad at Stony Brook is finally breaking ground on its home turf with a new facility being built on Nicolls Road, much closer to the epicenter of its Three Village neighbors. The group will celebrate the new beginning with a groundbreaking ceremony on May 7 at 5:30 p.m. in anticipation of the summer 2016 building opening.

Chabad has been home to more than 400 families from Smithtown to Port Jefferson, but has relied on rental spaces throughout the year to host key events like the High Holiday services and popular holiday celebrations. The Shabbat services have also been held at the rabbi’s home.

Rabbi Motti Grossbaum of Chabad at Stony Brook said planning events like Bar and Bat Mitzvahs has become a logistical headache for the group, making the potential of a new space a welcome addition to the family.

“Since 1987, Chabad at Stony Brook has been like ‘the wandering Jew,’” Grossbaum said in a statement. “Though Chabad was fortunate to acquire the Lake Grove Jewish Center in 1990, it was not a perfect fit. For one thing, the location was 15-20 minutes away from the larger Jewish community in Stony Brook and other surrounding towns on Suffolk County’s north shore. Also, the building was too small to accommodate Chabad’s ever-growing attendance.”

The new facility was made possible thanks to a $1,000,000 grant from Edward and Vivian Merrin, founders of the Merrin Gallery in New York City and the project is being led by Kevin Harney of Stalco Construction and it is also being financed by John Tsunis of Gold Coast Bank.

“The new building will serve as a home and a hub for the rapidly growing Jewish community in the Three Village area and beyond,” Grossbaum said.

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.

Three Village Central School District is constructing a new building on its administration property. Photo by Phil Corso

A new, $1.6 million, 4,000-square-foot facility for maintenance and operations is rising on the North Country Administration property on Suffolk Avenue in Stony Brook.

Money from the recent bond is being used to fund the building, which will provide relief for the administration building, which now houses ground crew supplies, carpentry facilities and a paint shop in one of its wings. The district’s auto shop is a separate building also located on the premises.

The new building will mean that there will be more space inside the administration center for career and technical classrooms for the Three Village Academy, said Jeff Carlson, assistant superintendent for business services. Being able to provide vocational courses will save the district the fees it pays to BOCES, he said.

“We want to make it nicer for the neighborhood,” Carlson said of the construction. “We want to be a good neighbor.”

Though some neighbors might be disappointed to see the baseball fields on the south side of the building sacrificed, Carlson said the administration plans to spruce up the fields on the other side of the building.

Johnny Cuomo sings to a group of children at the 2013 Middle County Public Library Apple Festival in Centereach. Photo by Kristin Cuomo

By Sue Wahlert

It’s quite possible that Mount Sinai’s Johnny Cuomo lives, breathes and sleeps music. Added to his life’s obsession are his love of cultures, nature, children and storytelling. He is a multidimensional music man who is lovingly known to many as “Mr. C.” As he says in his online introduction video, he is “deeply connected with nature, music, children and stories for children.”

However, there is even more to Cuomo than his guitar or his penny whistle.  There is a wisdom that lives within him.  It is a culmination of family vacations to the National Parks, his time spent volunteering on Indian Reservations in California and backpacking and studying abroad in Ireland, his dedication to religion and his need to make music. With all of this information, he has made it his life’s work to share his knowledge with children and adults through his musical storytelling profession and his performances in Irish Pubs.

At a very young age, Cuomo’s Stony Brook family began laying the groundwork for the man he has become.

“My parents had me interested in wolves, birds and bears,” said Cuomo. In college, Cuomo discovered the world of bird watching and is now an avid watcher. He uses his knowledge to incorporates tales of birds into some of his early childhood education programs.

Because Cuomo was exposed to history at a very young age, he was open to the experiences of volunteering at the Vieajas and Barona Indian Reservations in San Diego. “At night I would hang out with the elders. This enabled me to learn about their cultures and share my culture,” reflected Cuomo. This was also the first time Cuomo had the opportunity to work with children. “It solidified my love of working with children,” he said.

Cuomo’s love of Irish music was ignited during the two months he spent backpacking in Ireland, where he carried his belongings and a guitar. “I wanted to learn stories, music and history of the Irish,” he said. Upon returning home, he knew he had to go back, but this time would be via a study abroad program.  During his eight months of study, Cuomo learned to play the tin whistle, banjo and mandolin, and began performing Irish music.

In the late 1990s, Cuomo formed the popular Irish band, Gallowglass. Although they are no longer together, the musicians sometimes collaborate.  Currently you can see Cuomo on most Sunday nights performing Irish music at the Pig ‘n’ Whistle on 2nd Ave. in New York City.

Cuomo understands the vital importance of music in the life of children and adults. He offers private instruction and also has a wide range of children’s programs for Preschoolers through 12th grade. For more than seven years, Cuomo has been doing a weekly music program at the Chatterbox Day School in East Islip.

Director Lindsay Parker said of Cuomo, “The children look forward to their weekly music classes with “Mr. C.” They are fun, creative and exciting. Johnny brings a new dimension to children’s music that is rare to find!”
You might also find Cuomo on stage at the outdoor classroom at Play Groups School in East Setauket, strumming on his guitar while the preschoolers act out musical stories as they sing and dance.  Educational Director Maddy Friedman applauds Cuomo, saying “he is an exceptional music educator who brings his joy and love of music to our school.” Cuomo is scheduled to perform at the school’s annual May Fair on May 30.

Since 2000, Cuomo has also shared his talents at the Comprehensive Kids Developmental School, a public, special needs preschool on the lower east side of Manhattan. The opportunity to work with the special needs population has impressed upon Cuomo the importance of therapeutic music. “I can reach these kids with my music,” said Cuomo. “I have a special drum I use, where they can feel the vibration, and also a whistle, so they can feel the air move. It is a gift to be able to work with these kids.” Annemarie Fuschetti, the school’s former psychologist, said of Cuomo, “Everyone lights up when Johnny comes. Even those with the most difficult behaviors.”

One might wonder how one person can do all of this? Cuomo laughed as he said, “I have a number of part-time jobs that add up to more than a full-time job. I have traded sleep for time with my family.” His two boys, Johnny, 7, and Paul, 6, are also music lovers and have been to hundreds of their father’s gigs.  Recently, Cuomo was invited to play at Walt Disney World with a group of fellow Irish musicians. Fortunately his wife and sons were invited to be part of this journey, to experience the park and see Cuomo play an Irish music and dance show at Raglan Road Irish Pub in Downtown Disney.

More recently, Cuomo signed with manager Jean Marie Keevins of Little Shadow Productions. Keevins will serve as a liaison to other writers and companies with whom Cuomo might be able to collaborate and sell his original ideas to. The professional arena is wide open, from books to theater to animation. It is an exciting time for the artist.

Additionally, Cuomo is excited to be heading off to Alaska this July for the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival, where he will be teaching workshops and playing concerts focused on traditional Irish and American Folk music.

To top it off, the never weary Cuomo and his wife Kristin will be running their weeklong summer program, “Birds of a Feather Nature Camp.” Based out of the Setauket Neighborhood House, they have been running this outdoor program for more than 13 years. “We want to get kids to go outside and observe all that is here locally. It is an opportunity to see what’s in your backyard,” said Cuomo. The camp combines music, nature, crafts and hiking, all of which encourage kids to connect with nature and music.

Check out Cuomo’s website at www.johnnycuomo.com to learn more about his programs, listen to some of his CDs and check on upcoming shows. Any time spent with Cuomo is a time to remember, as his stories and music live on in the minds and hearts of many.

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