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Suffolk County

A map showing where the SCWA expects to put the treatment systems, should they be approved. Images from SCWA

In an effort to eliminate 1,4-dioxane in county drinking water, Suffolk County Water Authority has proposed installing additional treatment systems at sites throughout the county, though costs could be high if plans see the light of day.  

An image of the proposed treatment system. Image from SCWA

In a presentation to Suffolk County legislators, SWCA proposed installing 31 new advanced treatment systems at a number of sites where the levels of 1,4-dioxane are higher than the New York State proposed limit, which is 1 part per billion.

Jeffrey Szabo, SCWA chief executive officer, said the authority is continuing to develop technology that will eliminate toxic chemicals such as 1,4-dioxane. 

“We have been working with the health department on our AOP (advanced oxidation process) systems and the results have been successful,” Szabo said. 

A concern of 1,4-dioxane is that it can’t be removed through conventional treatment methods and involves a complex process of mixing the contaminated water with hydrogen peroxide, treated with ultraviolet light, which then gets sent to tanks filled with carbon where the rest of contaminants are filtered out. The hamlet of Central Islip currently has the sole advanced oxidation process system capable of removing 1,4-dioxane on Long Island. 

The authority says that its systems can destroy 1,4-dioxane molecules to virtually undetectable levels. Szabo said there are close to 100 wells in Suffolk County that need to be treated for the toxin. 

The proposed plan could take five to six years to install all 31 treatment systems, according to the authority’s chief executive officer and it would cost between $1.5 and $6 million in capital costs alone for each system. 

“We are trying to get this done as quickly as possible, there are things still up in the air,” Szabo said. 

The authority is waiting on the state Department of Health to adopt an official maximum contaminant level (MCL) standard. According to officials, they expect to get confirmation sometime in early 2020. 

Szabo stressed that the authority and other water providers will need time to adjust to the new standards as well as to implement the new systems. 

“This will take time, each system has to get approved by the department of health before it can be installed,” Szabo said. 

In the case of the AOP pilot system in Central Islip, officials said it took over two years to get approval from the Department of Health. 

“We want to reassure the public that we are doing everything we can,” Szabo said. 

1,4-Dioxane has been designated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a likely carcinogen associated with liver and kidney damage after a lifetime of exposure to contaminated drinking water. The chemical has been found in industrial solvents, detergents, shampoos and other products. 

In July, the state health department began the process of adopting the MCL of 1 part per billion. The department would become the first in the country to set a limit on 1,4-dioxane. Similarly, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has planned to offer $350 million in grants for treatment. 

At a forum in February, the Long Island Water Conference estimated the cost of treatment systems for close to 200 water wells contaminated by 1,4-dioxane to be at $840 million. 

The authority said it is hopeful it can begin to implement the plan sometime in 2020. In addition, two additional AOP systems are currently in development for pump stations in East Farmingdale and Huntington.

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The McMorris Family leads the hike Sept. 30 through Manorville, ending at Shoreham-Wading River High School. Photo by Kyle Barr

Over 530 hikers crowded in the entrance to the Thomas Cutinella Memorial Field at Shoreham-Wading River High School. On a day when school was out for Rosh Hashana, both the old and young still woke up in the wee hours of the morning wearing red shirts emblazoned with the words, “Fly High Andrew.”

Hundreds gather at the SWR high school football field in honor of Andrew McMorris. Photo by Kyle Barr

The Boy Scouts of America Suffolk County Council, along with Troop 161 and the McMorris family, together organized to memorialize Andrew McMorris Sept. 30, who was killed by a drunk driver last year, by finishing the troop’s hike on the first-year anniversary of the young man’s death.

Robert Rabbitt, the senior district executive of the Suffolk Boy Scouts council, said the Scouts, family and troop wanted to do something on the year anniversary to remember Andrew, and while they expected a good turnout of a few hundred, the more than 500 people who pledged to participate stunned him.

“We’re overwhelmed by the response,” he said.

Andrew was hit by a drunk driver while on a hike with his troop last year in Manorville. The 12-year-old Shoreham resident was pronounced dead the following day. The legal battle is ongoing for Thomas Murphy, the Holbrook man who has been charged in the death of Andrew. The trial is expected to begin in November, though that could be delayed.

The hundreds of people gathered there came from all over Suffolk County, even as far away as Huntington, Rabbitt said. Members of the Miller Place Panthers football team also came to hike in support of the McMorris family. Andrew’s father, John, is a guidance counselor at the Miller Place High School.

Scouts and community members signed up to take a 1-mile, 5-mile or 10-mile version of the hike, helping to fundraise for the Andrew McMorris Foundation and to help create scholarships in Andrew’s name. The Boy Scouts council was also accepting donations to help build a new lodge at Baiting Hollow Scout Camp in Wading River, which will be named after Andrew.

Scouts from all over Suffolk County came to Manorville to participate in the hike. Photo by Kyle Barr

“What a wonderful turnout to celebrate Andrew,” said Matt Yakubowski, scoutmaster for Troop 161, as he and his troop boarded the buses to take them to the hike’s staging grounds. “It’s going to be a touching day.”

The hike started at the Pine Barrens Information Center in Manorville before moving through the Pine Barrens. The hike took participants past the place where Andrew was killed for those looking to pay respects.

Troop 161 has done much in the year since Andrew’s death to both memorialize him and work toward healing. The troop created a garden outside the Brookhaven town-owned Robert E. Reid Sr. Recreation Center in Shoreham to commemorate his life. Future Eagle Scout projects are planned to help advocate against drunk driving.

Later that day, the Andrew McMorris Foundation hosted a benefit at Suffolk Theater in Riverhead, with the proceeds going to support the nonprofit.

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Suffolk Police were on the scene Thursday, Oct. 3 after an alleged shooting at Port Jeff Liquors. Photo by David Luces

By David Luces and Kyle Barr

Suffolk County police said a man threatening a liquor store clerk with a sword was shot and killed in Port Jefferson last Thursday afternoon by a shop owner on East Main Street.

Police responded to a 911 call that came in at 2:23 p.m. Oct. 3 that a person at Port Jeff Liquors, located at 156 E. Main St., had shot and killed a man who had allegedly come into the shop “swinging a sword,” a police spokesperson said.

The man with the sword was pronounced dead at the scene. No other injuries were reported.

Police later identified the man as Theodore Scoville, 50. Accounts from security footage have largely verified the owner’s accounts of the situation to police, and the owner is not being charged.

Trustee Kathianne Snaden and Deputy Mayor Stan Loucks were at the scene shortly after the shooting and were updating both the public and media.

“His actions posed an eminent threat to the merchant, who, regrettably, was forced to shoot the individual in defense of himself,” Snaden wrote on Facebook after the incident Oct. 3.

Officials with the Port Jefferson School District said Oct. 4 that buses had just left from the high and middle schools after 2 p.m. when a call from the village came in about the incident. The buses were notified en route, which then avoided the area. 

Mayor Margot Garant wrote on Facebook that their hearts go out to shop owner and Port Jeff resident Steve Plunkette and his family, along with the family of the deceased.

“The tragic and abhorrent event that took place today in the Village of Port Jefferson was a rare and isolated event which in no way reflects the beautiful historic community that we truly are,” she wrote.

Fred Leute, the acting chief of code enforcement, said constables were on the scene shortly after the event. Leute said Scoville was known to frequent Port Jeff every two to three weeks on Thursdays, having a schedule of visiting the Port Jefferson Free Library when new magazines became available, or he would arrive when the weather was nice. The chief added the man had never presented a problem for constables previously.

The liquor store closed for a day but was back in business in the rest of the week. Groups of people came down throughout the weekend to show support to the business owner.

This post was updated Oct. 9 to add quotes from Fred Leute, the acting chief of code enforcement .

Vapes, or electronic cigarettes, are becoming more and more popular among young people, despite a lack of research about the health effects. Photo by John Petroski

As a New York State ban on flavored e-cigarettes goes into effect Oct. 4, community members and officials on Long Island are hopeful that this will be a good first step in curbing youth smoking. 

The ban comes in the wake of several deaths experts have linked to e-cigarettes. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 450 cases of lung illness nationwide have been associated with e-cigarette products containing nicotine or THC. A number of those cases have occurred on Long Island. 

Vape Shops across Suffolk say the new law will hurt their businesses. File photo by Giselle Barkley

Suffolk County Legislator William “Doc” Spencer (D-Centerport) said he believes the ban is a great first step in limiting access of addictive products to young people. 

“I think [the ban] is wonderful news,” he said. “We have seen a disturbing trend, we know this stuff is not good for you.”

Spencer cautioned that they have to be prepared for the unintended consequences of such a ban, particularly he said he wants to make sure that there are support systems and resources available to addicted individuals who may seek help. 

“I want to make sure there are plans for parents who may have a child who is addicted [to e-cigarettes],” he said. “I will be working with the health department on a plan to deal with this.”

Despite the ban, Spencer believes there’s more to do to curb e-cigarette use and vaping, pointing to the ubiquitous e-cigarette product Juul as another concern. 

“One Juul pod is equivalent to smoking a pack of cigarettes,” he said. “You have kids smoking two or three of these pods.”

The legislator also mentioned that there are a number of loopholes on the state and federal level that he feels still need to be addressed. 

There has been an increase in use of e-cigarettes in middle and high school students in recent years. Port Jefferson School District in particular is hosting a vape seminar at its next school board meeting Oct. 15. District officials are hopeful that the ban prevents further teens from thinking of vaping.  

“Any step in the right direction is a good step,” said Paul Casciano, superintendent of the Port Jefferson School District. “Unfortunately, people, including teens, were duped into believing that vaping was a safe alternative to smoking. There is still much more to be done including discussions about peer pressure and the fear of not fitting into a group.”

Casciano said the district has provided information and held numerous presentations on vaping for students and parents. Last December, the district took part in a county pilot program called Vape Out where high school students watched a presentation on the health hazards of vaping and were given advice on how to refuse a hit. They then shared the lessons they learned with other classmates and students in the middle school. 

“No singular program or curriculum is going to eliminate vaping among teens however constant and consistent messages from many voices may begin to stem the tide.” Casciano said.  

“Any step in the right direction is a good step.”

— Paul Casciano

Vape shop and small business owners have long been opposed to legislation on the sale of e-cigarettes. Back in December 2018, at a public hearing to discuss legislation that would have banned the sale of flavored e-cigarettes in Suffolk County, owners said the issue isn’t the flavors but rather an issue of access and enforcement of the sale of tobacco products to individuals over the age of 21. 

Alex Patel, owner of the Rocky Point Smoke and Vape Shop, is concerned about the looming ban on flavored e-cigarettes as it is a popular item purchased at vape shops. 

 “Of course, it is going to affect our business,” he said. “We could close down.” 

Dr. Rachel Boykan, clinical associate professor of pediatrics at Stony Brook Medicine, said while she is supportive of the new ban, she thought it would be better if it included menthol. 

“We know that youth are attracted to these products because of the flavors; this should decrease their appeal,” she said. 

In addition, Boykan mentioned some ideas to further curb youth smoking.    

“We need to regulate advertising, which teens respond strongly to and which is ubiquitous and unregulated, compared with advertising of cigarettes, which is restricted,” she said. “We need to decrease availability by including e-cigarettes in Tobacco 21 legislation … include e-cigs in the same indoor air laws as combusted tobacco.” 

Boykan said she and her colleagues have dealt with many children who vape and they try to educate them on the harm associated with it. 

“We try to educate them about the risks of the flavorings and heavy metals such as copper, in the aerosol, and the recent severe lung illnesses and deaths — which we don’t yet understand,” she said.

The professor provided some advice to parents if they think their child may be vaping. 

“They may smell a fruity smell, they may notice signs of nicotine addiction such as agitation, anxiety, or if they are using marijuana as well,” she said. “The best approach is to establish trust, ask without judgment and be supportive if a child admits to having a nicotine addiction — and take them to their pediatrician for help.”

Stock Photo

The Suffolk County Department of Health announced 11 more mosquito samples have tested positive for West Nile Virus, with two samples collected in Rocky Point, one sample from Northport, one from Melville and one from Greenlawn.

Other samples were collected in Holtsville, Mattituck and Greenlawn.

New York State’s health department informed Suffolk County health officials Sept. 13 the new samples bring the total reports of West Nile Virus amongst mosquitos to 68. Four birds have tested positive for West Nile so far, but no humans or horses have tested positive in Suffolk County.

Dr. James Tomarken, the county commissioner of health, reiterated the need for people to report dead birds or look for other symptoms of the virus.

“The confirmation of West Nile virus in mosquito samples or birds indicates the presence of West Nile virus in the area,” he said.

Last month, 10 other mosquito samples tested positive for the virus. Three samples had been found in Rocky Point, with others located in Commack and Huntington Station, among others.

West Nile virus may cause a range of symptoms, from mild to severe, including fever, headache, vomiting, muscle aches, joint pain and fatigue. There is no specific treatment for West Nile virus. Patients are treated with supportive therapy as needed.

The best way to handle local mosquito populations is for residents to eliminate standing or stagnant water pools in their local areas.

People are also encouraged to use long sleeves and socks and use mosquito repellent.

The virus came to New York nearly 20 years ago, and samples are usually found in summertime when the mosquito population is most active. Cases, in the intervening years, have become relatively rare.

Dead birds may indicate the presence of West Nile virus in the area. To report dead birds, call the Public Health Information Line in Suffolk County at 631-787-2200 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Residents are encouraged to take a photograph of any bird in question.

To report mosquito problems or stagnant pools of water, call the Department of Public Works’ Vector Control Division at 631-852-4270.

Stock photo

The state health department said 10 mosquito samples tested positive for West Nile virus in Suffolk County at the end of August, with three samples being found in Rocky Point.

In a release Aug. 30, Suffolk County Department of Health said that the mosquito samples, collected Aug. 20 and 21, had examples of West Nile virus in Lindenhurst, North Babylon, Farmingville, West Babylon, North Patchogue, Huntington Station, Commack and Rocky Point. All but Rocky Point had only one such sample collected.

Suffolk County has reported 53 mosquito samples to date that have tested positive for West Nile and six for Easter equine encephalitis, a virus that can cause brain infections, though no new samples have been collected at this point.

Dr. James Tomarken, the county commissioner of health, said there is a presence, but there is no reason to panic.

“The confirmation of West Nile virus in mosquito samples or birds indicates the presence of West Nile virus in the area,” said Tomarken. “While there is no cause for alarm, we advise residents to cooperate with us in our efforts to reduce their exposure to the virus, which can be debilitating to humans.”

West Nile virus may cause a range of symptoms, from mild to severe, including fever, headache, vomiting, muscle aches, joint pain and fatigue. There is no specific treatment for West Nile virus. Patients are treated with supportive therapy as needed.

The best way to handle local mosquito populations is for residents to eliminate standing or stagnant water pools in their areas. Tomarken said it’s important for residents to stay vigilant especially if they enter the Manorville area.

People are also encouraged to use long sleeves and socks and use mosquito repellent.

Dead birds may indicate the presence of West Nile virus in the area. To report dead birds, call the Public Health Information Line in Suffolk County at 631-787-2200 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Residents are encouraged to take a photograph of any bird in question.

To report mosquito problems or stagnant pools of water, call the Department of Public Works’ Vector Control Division at 631-852-4270.

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Thousands gathered for the last summer concert Aug. 27., but the chamber was denied entry to promote Photo by Greg Catalano

Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) and legislative challenger Gary Pollakusky have crossed swords over the final summer concert in Rocky Point Aug. 27.

Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker is running against Republican Gary Pollakusky to represent the 6th District. Photos by Alex Petroski

Members of the Rocky Point Sound Beach Chamber of Commerce said they were restricted from entering the concert venue, featuring Mike DelGuidice and Big Shot, to promote the chamber and their own businesses. Pollakusky is the executive director of the chamber, which was established last year.

Chamber members took to local Facebook groups to decry how they were allegedly treated, saying they were turned away by aides from Anker’s office. In a video posted to the chamber Facebook page, Pollakusky talked to Anker through an aide holding a phone, which had Anker saying she had already told the chamber president no, and said, “Police would be there if you are not off the premises in the next hour.”

Both legislative candidates have put the onus on the other for why the chamber was denied access.

Rocky Point VFW Post 6249 is the main sponsors and promoter for the summer concert series alongside the Suffolk County Legislature. Post Commander Joe Cognitore said he had told the chamber members they were invited and had written a letter to that effect. 

The letter, dated July 22, invites the chamber to manage and invite business in the community to the summer concert series, reading, “In keeping with our commitment to our downtown revitalization grant we look forward to supporting our business community.”

In the past, local businesses have been allowed at the annual summer concerts.

“The only permission required was that of the event organizer.”

— Gary Pollakusky

He added the VFW post does not get involved in politics and runs the concert for the benefit of the veterans and community.

“We’re apolitical,” Cognitore said. “The chamber, civic, they meet at the post. I’m part of all of them because we’re involved in all parts of the community.”

Charles Todaro, the treasurer of the chamber, confirmed the letter dated July 22, which said it gave permission to the chamber to come set up tables at the event. When they arrived, he said, they were denied entry by Anker’s staff, along with the threat of calling the police.

Todaro said the grants that supplies funds for the concert series are meant to help promote shopping in local businesses. He called the reason they were denied access “political,” but said it wasn’t because Pollakusky is running against Anker.

“We are shocked and appalled by Sarah Anker’s political actions because the chamber had written permission from the concert holder to take part in the event,” Todaro said. “We had all the wheels in motion, and we got this very last minute threat not to come.”

While Cognitore confirmed he had given the letter to the chamber, Anker said she had not learned of such a letter until after the concert. She said her challenger had called last minute Monday, Aug. 26, the day before the concert, to say he and chamber members would be attending. She said she told Pollakusky no over the phone, it being too last minute and with thousands of attendants there would be no room for tables. She added she told him he and his chamber members could come as attendants rather than as vendors.

“We have the concerts to bring people to downtown Rocky Point, not so much to bring the vendors into the concert,” she said. “That’s following the grant requirements for the cultural omnibus funding that funds these concerts.”

Pollakusky said they received contact from the VFW the day before the event asking them to place a courtesy call to the legislator’s office. They received a call the next day at 12 p.m. saying they were not allowed inside.

“There’s been a precedent set for years for the North Brookhaven Chamber to attend, there’s also been a precedent set for businesses to attend,” the chamber president said. “The only permission required was that of the event organizer … I’m very disappointed that Sarah would use her office to prevent the chamber and other local businesses from taking part in a community event funded from taxpayer’s money.”

“We have the concerts to bring people to downtown Rocky Point, not so much to bring the vendors into the concert.”

— Sarah Anker

Anker said Pollakusky came to the concert grounds at St. Anthony of Padua R.C. Church in the early afternoon and that he “harassed my staff in a confrontational manner that I had to call police and church security.”

Pollakusky referred to the video posted to the chamber page regarding the chamber’s interactions with Anker’s staff. 

“Our community and our businesses were harmed,” he said.

Both political candidates accused the other of politicizing the situation.

Jennifer Dzvonar, who had been president of the North Brookhaven Chamber of Commerce before it disassembled in 2017, wrote on Facebook that her chamber had a table at each concert where then members were invited to attend. Dzvonar is now president of the Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Chamber of Commerce. 

Anker said that while the North Brookhaven chamber had attended previous concerts, they were allowed a single table to advertise members and chamber events. The RPSB chamber was looking to set up multiple tables. She added that previously with the old chamber, details of how and where they would set their tables was established months in advance.

If anything, it’s a rocky start to the upcoming election season.

Red light cameras along Route 25A. File photo by Elana Glowatz
Since 2010, Suffolk County has been authorized by New York State to install red-light cameras at intersections. Today, 215 cameras operate at 100 intersections. The program is intended to reduce the number of cars running red traffic lights and by extension reduce the number of crashes and the severity of the crashes. The county has as its vendor for the red-light camera program Conduent, a divestiture from Xerox. Conduent receives from Suffolk County 42 percent of all fines as per contract terms, and its contract was set to expire December 2019. Graphic by TBR News Media

The next five years of red-light cameras’ survival in Suffolk County has finally been decided.

After lengthy debate and public comment period, Suffolk lawmakers voted along party lines to extend the program for another five years Sept. 4. The program was set to expire by the end of the year.

Legislators speak out on the red light camera program. Photo by David Luces

The issue of red-light cameras has been a divisive topic since its inception nearly a decade ago. Republicans, who unanimously opposed the program, have called it a ‘money grab’ for the county, which has generated $20 million in revenue annually. Democrats, on the other hand, supported the extension though acknowledged that it needs to be fixed.

Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai), who co-sponsored a bill for a report on the county’s red-light camera program, said she remained frustrated with its findings but ultimately supported the program. She also called for more education on distracted driving prevention.

“There needs to be improvements [to the program], the program right now is not acceptable,” she said.

Legislators proposed the idea of payment plans for fines, waiving administrative fees for first-time offenders and the implementation of an annual report on all camera locations.

Republicans said the program has negatively affected driver behavior, as many drivers stop short at red lights to avoid getting a ticket. The county has seen a marked increase in rear-end accidents in the last few years.

Paul Margiotta, executive director of the Traffic and Parking Violations Agency, disagreed and pointed to the increased prevalence of distracted driving as the culprit. He said he believed the program has been working.

Republicans continue to disagree.

“It has become clear that the program isn’t working said Comptroller John Kennedy, who is running for county executive in the fall against Steve Bellone (D). “Suffolk’s residents realize it’s little more than a money grab,”

Supporters have said the program has saved lives by reducing red-light running and serious accidents on roadways.

“The minority caucus led by Rob Trotta and his band of conspiracy theorists were dealt a resounding defeat. This is a victory for common sense and effective public safety programs,” said Jason Elan, a Bellone spokesperson, in a statement.

Though before the vote, many of those who attended the Sept 4. meeting spoke negatively about the program.

“Red light cameras are disproportionately located in lower income neighborhoods.”

— Hector Gavilla

Hector Gavilla, a Huntington-based lawyer who is running for county legislature, said Suffolk is trying to come up with reasons to say the program works.

“Red light cameras are disproportionately located in lower income neighborhoods,” he said. “This red-light camera tax is placed on the most vulnerable people in our communities… we all agree that whoever intentionally tries to run a red-light should definitely get a ticket, however the vast majority of these tickets are on right turns on red.”

Previously, legislators proposed relocating red-light cameras to areas and intersections where the most serious accidents occur.

Other speakers said the program is failing in its original goal to improve public safety.

As one individual put it: “If it’s [red-light cameras] causing more accidents than it’s not safe,”

Another concerned county resident said it is a no-brainer to not extend the program.

“You can’t delay this to another five years, fix the flaws of this program, fix the quality of life in Suffolk County,” he said.

Legislators have already put in a request for proposal to find a new vendor for the program. They stressed the need for the new vendor to be either locally based or be required to have an office in the county. Also, Margiotta said county officials plan to look for a vendor that provides a payment plan.

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The VFW, county government and the Mike DelGuidice-led Big Shot put on a massive concert for thousands Aug. 27. Photos by Greg Catalano

By Rich Acritelli

It was during this past week that classic rock could widely be heard throughout the North Shore. 

The Billy Joel “Big Shot” band that is led by local native Mike DelGuidice sang to a packed audience at Saint Anthony of Padua R.C. Church in Rocky Point Aug. 27. With almost 8,000 people on hand to watch the musical event, it was a great night enjoyed by all. For the last several years, Big Shot has been the main attraction of the summer concert series and a driving force of Post 6249 Rocky Point Veterans of Foreign Wars’ local efforts.

VFW Post 6249 Commander Joe Cognitore speaks at the Aug. 27 concert.
Photos by Greg Catalano

For the entire day, veterans of this military post diligently worked to ensure that this production was enjoyed by the many residents of this community. This operation was organized by Post 6249 Commander Joe Cognitore with eighteen members of the veterans organization that helped set up tents, directed where chairs could be placed, the positioning of garbage cans and worked with the church to ensure the success of this night. Cognitore was pleased to be working with Reverend K.J. Augustine, a new addition to the parish of Saint Anthony’s. It was a united effort by members of the church, VFW, county officials and local leaders that all participated in making this night come alive. Cognitore was thankful for the guidance that Augustine demonstrated to bring various organizations together through a musical tradition that has flourished at Saint Anthony’s during the summer months.

Cognitore said he was delighted that everything came together for all of the people on the beautiful evening to hear the DelGuidice sing the hits of Billy Joel, Elton John and Aerosmith.  For well over twelve hours, members of Post 6249 were seen in their blue shirts selling raffle tickets, pointing people to their seats, dancing, all with big smiles on their face, excited to watch this event unfold in front of a packed house. Even as DelGuidice now calls Florida his home, this local kid recalled his roots with good-hearted banter with the crowd. 

Since this series was created under then county legislator Dan Losquadro and continued with the aid of his successor Sarah Anker (D-Mount Siani), DelGuidice has been the key event to end these shows on a high note. While the musician performs next to Joel through the longstanding franchise at Madison Square Garden, DelGuidice is a proud figure from Miller Place. The former resident has mastered the songs of Joel and has members of his band playing with Big Shot to round out this talented group. With cheers that could be heard up and down Route 25A and Main Street in Rocky Point, DelGuidice played for almost three hours. 

It is this music that resonates well with many people that can identify with the local lyrics and spirit of Joel mastered by DelGuidice.  Like that of Bruce Springsteen, John Cougar Mellancamp, and Zac Brown, the combination of Joel and DelGuidice music will continue to stand the test of time and local residents will surely enjoy these shows for many years to come.

The VFW, county government and the Mike DelGuidice-led Big Shot put on a massive concert for thousands Aug. 27.
Photos by Greg Catalano

The importance of this concert series is that the local government and Cognitore are able to bring solid musicians to this area to present their multitude of talents. Instead of worrying about paying an expensive ticket price and traveling into the city, many people are able to come home from work and within minutes hear the unique voice of DelGuidice play some of the most memorable rock hits. This leisurely event allows people the opportunity to see an outstanding show that is free, close to home and they also observe the likes of Post 6249 work for the betterment of the North Shore.

One of the finest songs that DelGuidice sang on this night was “Good Night Saigon.”  Immediately, DelGuidice invited all of the veterans to be present on the stage and be next to him and his band. Much of this tribute was presented to the Vietnam Veterans that were led by Cognitore. He had tears in his eyes by the overwhelming applause from the crowd. Standing next to the post commander, they looked out to the crowd as they raised phones over their heads.nThey turned on their flashlights and cameras creating a clear path of light across the fields of Saint Anthony’s.  

Veterans, young and old were continually thanked by DelGuidice and his band for sacrificing for this nation. In an evening with many highlights, this one surely hit home for the members of Post 6249 and for those with history of defending this nation at home and abroad.

Already, Cognitore is looking forward to next year. He wanted to thank all of the political leaders, the church, officers of the Suffolk County Police Department of the 7th Precinct for their role in handling crowd control, parking, the traffic, and being a presence to ensure the safety of an audience of thousands.  

Bee Witched Honey at the Port Jefferson Winters Farmers Market. File Photo by Giselle Barkley

Those who are trying to grow it and sell it on Long Island have a new way to try and get their business on the map.

Suffolk County announced that through the Choose LI – Local and Independent initiative, local businesses can request a free “Choose LI” or “Take the Pledge” sign to display at their farm stand, farmers market, fish market, brewery, cidery, distillery or vineyard. The signs, printed on white corrugated plastic measuring either 18 × 24 feet or 30 × 40 feet, can be requested online through the chooseli.org website. To date, more than 46 local businesses have signed up, according to a county press release.

“Our local farmstands, fish markets, vineyards and breweries are the backbone of our community and we want residents to continue to take advantage of these locally grown and harvested products,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) in a release. 

The Choose LI initiative asks local residents and visitors to choose goods from local and independent farmers and fishermen. Suffolk is asking residents to “Take the Pledge” and commit to spending 10 percent of their weekly food budget, approximately $17.60, on local and independent food goods.

The website includes a searchable and interactive map of all the farmstands, farmers markets, fish markets, vineyards, breweries, cideries and distilleries in Suffolk County

The searchable map currently lists 25 farmers markets, 115 farmstands, 33 breweries, 4 distilleries, 2 cideries, 33 fish markets, 51 vineyards, 21 restaurants selling local oysters and 49 flower retailers. Anyone who visits the website can interact with the map, finding the exact address, hours of operation, phone number, and website of the business they are looking for. If your business selling Long Island produce is missing from the county map, please contact Choose LI at chooseli@suffolkcountyny.gov.