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Members of the Anna Smith Strong Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution with WMHO trustees, above, celebrate a $9,848 grant from NSDAR. Photo from WMHO

A historic house on North Country Road in Setauket is about to get some maintenance work to ensure it remains as a Three Village staple.

RDLGF Executive Director Kathryn Curran joins the WMHO trustees after the foundation awarded WMHO a $30,625 matching grant. Photo from WMHO

The Ward Melville Heritage Organization recently received two grants totaling $40,473 from the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation and the Anna Smith Strong Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution. WMHO will use the funds — a matching grant of $30,625 from RDLGF and $9,848 from NSDAR — to replace the roof of the Thompson House, built circa 1709. The replacement will help to keep the home structurally sound.

“To have grants from two of the most prestigious organizations is a wonderful gratification to the organization,” said Gloria Rocchio, WMHO president.

Rocchio added the grants will also help with a new program that is slated to begin in the spring of 2022. During the pandemic, Rocchio said, more information was uncovered about the house’s inhabitants.

The program will include stories about a visit from 10th President John Tyler (1841-45) and his wife, Julia Gardiner; correspondence between Benjamin Thompson and third President Thomas Jefferson (1801-09); and George Washington’s Culper Spy Ring (1778-83).

Rocchio said she found the new information fascinating, and WMHO educators also are excited about what they unearthed.

Kathryn Curran, RDLGF executive director, said the WMHO continues to evolve in serving the community in new ways. The foundation provides grants to organizations that preserve New York history, especially in Suffolk County.

“Their research on the Thompson House will add another layer to Long Island’s regional history,” she said. “The Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation supports restoration of historic properties for organizations with educational outreach at the forefront of their mission.”

The second grant, according to Rita Newman, regent of the Anna Smith Strong Chapter, is one of the largest amounts given by NSDAR in both the state and the nation. The nonprofit, named after one of the Culper spies, promotes historical education.

Newman said it was a pleasure to sponsor WMHO’s request.

“WMHO is an outstanding community-minded organization which plays an active part in preserving, restoring and regularly holding educational programs at the Thompson House and  other historic structures, which they also own and maintain in our area,” she said.

Newman added that the house is a valuable asset not only on a local level but also to state and national history. The chapter participates in events held at the house, which is listed on the New York State and National Registers of Historic Places.

“During the American Revolution, the Thompson House was the home of Dr. Thompson, patriot, physician and farmer,” she said. “Among his patients listed in his ‘cash receipt book’ circa 1787, are members of George Washington’s Culper Spy Ring. It is a long-standing belief that our chapter’s namesake, Anna Smith Strong, who lived in Setauket during the American Revolution, was an important member of the Culper Spy Ring.”

Mindy Kaling and Emma Thompson in a scene from the movie. Photo courtesy of Amazon Studios

By Jeffrey Sanzel

Fans of Mindy Kaling, best known for “The Office” and “The Mindy Project,” have been flocking to theaters to see her debut as feature writer for “Late Night,” a by-the-numbers comedy that takes on the issue of diversity in the workplace and makes its statement with a connect-the-dots expectation. Directed by Nisha Ganatra, there are no surprises but it still makes for an enjoyable hour and 45 minutes.

Emma Thompson in a scene from ‘Late Night’

Emma Thompson plays legendary late-night talk show host Katherine Newbury whose ratings have been slipping. She has surrounded herself with an all-male, all-white staff and is described as a “woman who hates women.” In response to this, she gives her long-suffering producer Brad (a wonderful Denis O’Hare) the task of hiring a woman. Through slightly unbelievable machinations, he brings on chemical plant worker Molly (Mindy Kaling) to the writing staff.  

Instead of a true examination of hiring practices, what ensues is humorous but contrived as Molly is first ostracized and then embraced by the team. There are occasional edgy moments – including Molly writing a topical and controversial monologue joke – but these risks are few. For the most part, it adheres to traditional comedy tropes, including an ill-fated and unnecessary romantic entanglement that feels incomplete. (There is a sense throughout the film that a good deal ended up on the cutting room floor as certain ideas and conflicts are introduced but not seen to conclusion.)

The first turning point is when Katherine discovers she is going to be replaced by a mainstream and extremely coarse comedian Daniel Tennant (Ike Barinholtz, a subtle performance that avoids caricature). With this impetus, she goes to war with the head of the network Caroline Morton (Amy Ryan, saddled with a two-dimensional character). With Molly’s wide-eyed, aw-shucks guidance, Katherine begins to reinvent herself.

Minday Kaling in a scene from ‘Late Night’

Emma Thompson, one of the greatest and most versatile actors, creates a delightful monster of a boss. She never talks to her writers and doesn’t even bother to learn their names. When forced into a room with them, she gives them numbers. This is not done with cruelty but rather by someone who cannot be bothered with the people beneath her. Of course, in a comedy of this nature, she gradually learns to appreciate them.

Thompson’s depth is best shown when interacting with her ill husband Walter (a touching John Lithgow) and in an impromptu performance at a hole-in-the-wall benefit downtown. In the latter scene, the audience can see her pondering the mortality of her career.

Kaling is Thompson’s co-star and conscience. She is also “Late Night’s” writer and producer, which perhaps explains some of the weaknesses. As an actor, Kaling is a personality performer. There is no genuine complexity in her work but she is comfortable in her persona. She is watchable but, unlike with Thompson, as a presence, she is not transformative.  

The film is bolstered by a cast of strong actors in convincing performances, including Hugh Dancy, Reid Scott, Max Casella, Paul Hauser and John Early. It is interesting to note that with the exception of Thompson and Kaling, there are no other fully developed female characters.

The second act crisis is clumsily manipulated but, once again, the actors are able to make it work. “Late Night” builds to an expected resolution but, given the nature of the film, it is the one that the audience hopes for and expects.

Rated R, “Late Night” is now playing at local theaters.

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Patricia Thompson photo from Stony Brook University

By Daniel Dunaief

Patricia Thompson gets a call from her sister Kathy Hobson when people in San Angelo, Texas — where Thompson grew up and where her sister and brother live — when someone has cancer. They want to know what Thompson thinks of their treatment.

While Thompson is not a medical doctor, she has been working as a scientist to develop ways to discriminate high-risk patient populations from low-risk patients to limit “toxic treatments in low-risk individuals” and improve the efficacy of aggressive treatment in high risk-patients. The goal, she said, is to better treat patients based on the specific pathobiology of their disease.

Thompson, who came to Stony Brook University last October as a professor of pathology and associate director of Basic Research at the Cancer Center, is pleased with the support from the university.

“There’s a real convergence of factors, including a strong commitment from the leadership, the Simons Center and the university medical school faculty and staff at Stony Brook,” she said. “We all want to see the Stony Brook Cancer Center bring prestige to our community, attract the finest talent in cancer research and clinical care and attract innovators and job builders.”

Thompson said Cancer Center Director Yusuf Hannun, Medical School Research Dean Lina Obeid, Pathology Department Chairman Ken Shroyer, and Dean of the Medical School Ken Kaushansky have all led the charge.
Shroyer is pleased Thompson joined the effort. “Bringing her here was an incredible coup,” he said. She brings “real national prominence” and led one of the “most important clinical and translational research programs in breast and colorectal cancer.”

Thompson is committed to furthering her own research studies, while balancing between critical basic science discoveries and their clinical impact.

For some scientists, she wants to assist researchers as they move from the bench to the first human study. She helps them understand who needs to be involved to advance a potential diagnostic tool or novel treatment.

Still, she endorses the benefits of basic research. “Application is always an important long-term goal, but scientific exploration for new discovery is critical to advancements,” she said. Applied and basic research are “neither mutually exclusive approaches.”

Thompson studies colorectal and breast cancer because both have an inflammatory component and an immune element. She’s exploring what is shared between these two cancers as common targets for prevention and treatment.

Colon cancer provides a window that helps scientists and doctors understand the way cancer progresses.
“Our ability to study the premalignant to malignant progression in colorectal cancer has provided important basic knowledge of how cancers develop and taught us about how cells defend against tumorigenesis and how these systems fail,” she said.

Thompson went through some formative professional and personal experiences during graduate school that shaped her career. In the mid-1990s, she was studying an autoimmune disease in which she worked on an animal model with a neuroimmunologist.

“I wanted to know that all this work I was doing with animals was contributing to the disease in humans,” she said.

Around the same time, her father, Jim Thompson, who owned and operated Angelo Tool Company, learned he had stage IV colorectal cancer. He was diagnosed in 1995, before major advances in colorectal cancer treatment. Her father received compassionate care use of a new therapy, enabling him to live for three more years, considerably longer than his initial two-month prognosis. If he had been diagnosed five years later and received a platinum-based regimen, he would have “gained even more time,” she said.

Thompson said she and her family struggle with the fact that her father showed symptoms he kept to himself, largely out of fear. If his cancer had been detected earlier, she believes it is likely he could have been cured.

She suggests people not be “afraid of a cancer diagnosis” and recommends “routine screening” and consultation with a doctor if they show symptoms.

Thompson lives in Rocky Point with her husband, Michael Hogan, who is the vice president of life sciences at Applied DNA Sciences.

As for her work, Thompson believes her research might help physicians and their patients.
Her research aims to develop “diagnostic tests that help in prognosis” while identifying “patients that may achieve more benefit from aggressive chemotherapy,” she said.

President of the Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Civic Association Ira Costell swears the new Port Jefferson civic officers, Ana Hozyainova, Holly Fils-Aimé, Kathleen Mc Lane and Marilyn Damaskos. Photo by Samantha Rutt

By Samantha Rutt

At the Monday, June 10, Port Jefferson Civic Association meeting, new officers were sworn in, an update on the looming Staller development in Port Jefferson Station was given, and civic members took part in brainstorming ideas and solutions for the village’s most pressing issues.

The new leadership team, with terms expiring in 2026, were officially sworn in by neighboring civic president Ira Costell. The officers sworn in were Ana Hozyainova as civic president, Holly Fils-Aimé as vice president, Marilyn Damaskos as treasurer, Janice Fleischman-Eaton as recording secretary and Kathleen Mc Lane as corresponding and outreach secretary. 

Jefferson Plaza development proposal updates

Following the official business, Costell, president of the Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Civic Association shared some updates pertaining to the proposed Staller redevelopment of Jefferson Plaza, a development he feels will have a big impact on nearby communities.

“This significant development will, for better or worse, change the face and future of our community, as well as impacting Lower Port,” Costell shared. Back in March, Costell, on behalf of the PJSTCA, wrote a letter to Town of Brookhaven board and the town’s Highway Department [see “Port Jefferson Station/Terryville civic requests traffic study,” from May 3] asking for a comprehensive study to assess the influx of traffic from this proposal. 

Since then, the PJSTCA has heard back from Town of Brookhaven councilmember, Jonathan Kornreich (D-Stony Brook), who agreed with the sentiments expressed in the letter and assured that the town “shares the concern about the cumulative impact these developments may have on traffic” and “would like to stay ahead of it.” 

Others chimed into Costell’s speech and shared concerns about the potential impact on traffic, as well as quality of life and affordability, while others emphasized the need for comprehensive planning and coordination — something Costell has advocated for since the developer’s initial proposal. 

“Our community has chosen to not throw up a blockade and say no more, not in our backyard,” Costell said. “We embrace and want to engage with a future that makes sense for our community, that we can digest properly. Without comprehensive planning and coordination, it could be a nightmare that’s going to impact our communities negatively.”

In recent years, the village has seen substantial development and its impacts on the community. Both, the Overbay and The Shipyard complexes have left an impact on the community as residents feel the respective developers were not overtly transparent in their building plans.

Local architect, Heather Brin, echoed these sentiments sharing notes from her expertise, “The Shipyard, downtown, is illegal in terms of the height,” Brin alleged. “The developers raised the level of the berm that the property sits on so they could build as high as they did.” 

Civic members have since questioned the Staller project’s viability, safety concerns and the importance of finding a balance between developer and community needs. The PJSTCA will host Staller Associates on June 20 at 7 p.m. at the Comsewogue Public Library, 170 Terryville Road, Port Jefferson Station, to continue the community conversation.

Village issues going forward

Shifting gears, Hozyainova asked civic members to bring issues, concerns and wishes for the village to the forefront of the conversation. From this, several pressing issues resurfaced and some new ones emerged. 

Residents campaigned for increased walkability of the village, sharing notes of overgrown vegetation limiting sidewalk access. To this, Fils-Aimé asked for increased volunteerism and formation of committees dedicated to their respective concerns.

“Bring a proposal forward, somebody has to lead the charge,” she said. “We can have multiple committees, maybe a couple people are interested in that [issue] or maybe you want to bring them here and have them join the civic association.” 

Others shared their respective concerns over the Port Jefferson power plant and its future, capital projects in the village and in the school district, village constable’s office hours, the future of the country club and the East Beach bluff, keeping and restoring trees and other natural vegetation, were among some of the many issues brought to the metaphorical table. 

LIRR electrification

Adding to the growing list of village concerns, Port Jefferson resident Bruce Miller brought a motion before the civic requesting that Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) makes enforcement of the state’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act a priority of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Long Island Rail Road in their new 20-year plan. 

Miller explained in his motion that diesel locomotion is no longer acceptable transportation under this act and that riders along the Port Jefferson Branch are “forced to use their internal combustion vehicles to drive to Ronkonkoma for a decent ride,” 

In addition to concerns with ridership and the environment, Miller also detailed that the utilization of hydrogen rail or separate-car battery transportation could allow for a large industry based in New York state — to the benefit of many. 

The motion to approve Miller’s proposal asking Hochul and LIRR President Robert Free to meet with the civic association and Suffolk County’s elected representatives was approved and will be subsequently shared with all necessary parties. 

The next Port Jefferson Civic Association meeting will be held on Aug. 12 at the Port Jefferson Free Library, 100 Thompson St., at 6:30 p.m.

Camila dos Santos Photo courtesy of CSHL

By Daniel Dunaief

People often think of and study systems or organs in the body as discrete units. 

In a healthy human body, however, these organs and systems work together, sometimes producing signals that affect other areas.

Recently, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Associate Professor Camila dos Santos and graduate students Samantha Henry and Steven Lewis, along with former postdoctoral researcher Samantha Cyrill, published a study in the journal Nature Communications that showed a link in a mouse model between persistent bacterial urinary tract infections and changes in breast tissue.

The study provides information about how a response in one area of the body could affect another far from an infection and could provide women with the kind of information that could inform the way they monitor their health.

To be sure, dos Santos and her graduate students didn’t study the processes in humans, which could be different than they are in mice.

Indeed, they are in the process of establishing clinical studies to check if UTIs in women drive breast alterations.

The body’s response

In this research, the scientists demonstrated that an unresolved urinary tract infection itself wasn’t causing changes in breast tissue, but that the body’s reaction to the presence of the bacteria triggered these changes.

By treating the urinary tract infections, Henry and Lewis showed that breast cells returned to their normal state.

Further, when they didn’t treat the UTI but blocked the molecule TIMP1, which causes collagen deposits and milk duct enlargements, the breast cells returned to their normal state.

The TIMP1 role is “probably the main eureka moment,” said Lewis, who is an MD/ PhD student at Stony Brook University. “It explains how an infection in the bladder can change a faraway tissue.”

Lewis suggested that collagen, among other factors, changes the density of breast tissue. When women get a mammography, doctors are looking for changes in the density of their breasts.

Taking a step back from the link, these graduate students and dos Santos considered whether changes in the breast tissue during an infection could provide an evolutionary benefit.

“From an evolutionary standpoint, there should be some adaptive advantage,” suggested Henry, who is earning her PhD in genetics at Stony Brook University and will defend her thesis in July. Speculating on what this might be, she suggested the mammary gland might change in response to an infection to protect milk production during lactation, enabling a mother to feed her young.

Epidemiological studies

A link between persistent UTIs and breast cancer could show up in epidemiological studies.

Dos Santos and collaborators are exploring such questions in the context of European data and are working with US collaborators to collect this information.

In addition, dos Santos believes women should consider how other ongoing threats to their overall health impact their bodies. Women with clinical depression, for example, have worse prognoses in terms of disease. Humans have health threats beyond UTIs that could predispose them to developing cancer, dos Santos said.

Division of labor

Henry and Lewis took over a study that Samantha Cyrill, the third co-first author on the paper started. When Cyrill finished her postdoctoral work, Henry and Lewis “put on their capes and said, ‘We are going to take this to the end line.’ They are incredible people,” said dos Santos.

They each contributed to the considerable work involved.

Henry primarily analyzed the single cell RNA sequencing data, specifically identifying changes in the epithelial compartment. Gina Jones, a visiting CSHL undergraduate research program student, and Lewis also contributed to this.

Henry also participated in TIMP1 neutralizing antibody treatment in post-lactation involution mice, contributing to tissue collection and staining.

Working with Cyrill and Henry, Lewis contributed to the mouse work, including experiments like neutralizing TIMP1 and CSF3. Lewis also worked with Cyrill on the UTI infections in the animals and with Henry in processing tissues for single cell RNA sequencing and assisted Henry on the sequencing analysis.

While this result is compelling and offers an opportunity to study how an infection in an area of the body can trigger changes in another, dos Santos recognized the inherent risk in a new project and direction that could have either been disconnected or a been a dead end.

“It was an incredible risk,” said dos Santos. She was rejected from at least four different funding opportunities because the research is “so out there,” she said. She tapped into foundations and to CSHL for support.

Back stories

A resident of Brooklyn, Lewis was born in Queens and raised in Scarsdale. He joined the dos Santos lab in March of 2021. One of the appeals of the dos Santos lab was that he wanted to understand how life history events drive disease, especially breast cancer.

A big Mets fan, Lewis, whose current favorite payer is Pete Alonso, is planning to run his third marathon this fall.

Lewis is dating Sofia Manfredi, who writes for Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and accepted an Emmy award on behalf of the staff.

Lewis considers himself Manfredi’s “biggest cheerleader,” while he appreciates how well she listens to him and asks important questions about his work.

As for Henry, she grew up in Greenport. She joined the lab in May of 2020 and is planning to defend her thesis in July.

Her father Joseph Henry owns JR Home Improvements and her mother Christine Thompson worked as a waitress and a bartender in various restaurants.

Henry is married to Owen Roberts, who is a civil engineer and works in the Empire State Building for HNTB as a civil engineer, where he focuses on traffic.

Henry hopes to live in Boston after she graduates. She’s adopted the rooting interests of her husband, who is a fan of Beantown teams, and will support the Bruins and the Celtics. A lifelong Yankees fan, however, Henry, who watched the Bronx Bombers with her father growing up, draws the line at supporting the “Sawx.”

As for the work, Henry and Lewis are excited to see what the lab discovers in the next steps.

“I do think this work is extremely informative, defining a relationship between an infection, UTI, and the mammary gland that has not previously been appreciated,” Henry explained.

“This provides information to the public,” said Henry. “I always think it is worth knowing how different events may impact your body.”

BIRDS-EYE VIEW The Bald Hill Fair in Farmingville (May 9 to 19) will feature ‘The Wheel,’ the largest Ferris wheel on Long Island at a towering 110 feet tall. Photo courtesy of Dreamland Amusements
Ongoing

Flip Circus at Smith Haven Mall

Flip Circus returns to the Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove now through May 14.  Experience the magical moments under the red and white big top with trapeze artists, acrobats, jugglers and more! Showtimes are Monday to Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. For tickets visit www.flipcircus.com.

Bald Hill Fair

Dreamland Amusements brings the Bald Hill Fair to the Catholic Health Amphitheater, 1 Ski Run Lane, Farmingville from May 9 to 19 with whimsical kiddie rides, state-of-the-art thrill rides, entertaining midway games, and carnival eats. Fireworks by Grucci will be on May 11 and 18. Hours are Mondays to Thursdays from 5 to 10 p.m., Fridays from 5 to 11 p.m., Saturdays from noon to 11 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 10 p.m. For tickets in advance, visit www.baldhillfair.com.

Thursday May 9

Health & Wellness Fair

The Town of Brookhaven will host a Health and Wellness Fair at the Rose Caracappa Senior Center, 739 Route 25A, Mt. Sinai from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with free balance screenings, blood pressure screenings, food and nutrition education, cholesterol and glucose screenings and more with St. Charles Hospital. Free. For more information, call 631-451-5312.

Lunch & Learn

Huntington Historical Society continues its Lunch & Learn series with a special screening and discussion of I Now Take Up My Pen at the Conklin Barn, 2 High St., Huntington from noon to 2 p.m. Presented by the Port Jefferson Historical Society and  the Huntington Historical Society, the film tells the heart wrenching tale of two brothers from Huntington William and Jesse Platt, who served in different NYS Regiments from Long Island. Admission is $45 per person, $35 members and includes a wrap, salad, chips, dessert, and a beverage. To register, visit www.huntingtonhistoricalsociety.org.

Mother’s Day lecture

Join the Whaling Museum of Cold Spring Harbor for an online lecture titled Oh Baby! Motherhood at Sea at 7 p.m. ​Get ready for Mother’s Day with this “What to Expect When you’re Expecting” — maritime edition! Explore the undertold yet remarkable experiences of pregnancies, childbirth, and the early years of raising a child for the brave 19th century whaling wives who went to sea. Adults only. Free, suggested donation of $10. To register, visit www.cshwhalingmuseum.org.

Friday May 10

Garden Club Plant Sale

The Centerport Garden Club will hold a plant sale in front of Harborfields Public Library, 31 Broadway, Greenlawn form 9 to 11 a.m. Shop for well-tended plants donated by members from their own gardens. Rita Rover from the Long Island Chrysanthemum Society will be answering questions regarding exhibition mum growing and Anthony Marinello from Dropseed Native Plants will also be offering plants for sale.

A Taste of the Neighborhood

The Setauket Neighborhood House, 95 Main St., Setauket hosts its annual A Taste of the Neighborhood fundraiser from 7 to 10 p.m. Enjoy scrumptious food, beer and wine, music, raffle baskets and prizes. Tickets are $50 per person in advance, $60 at the door. Proceeds will be used for maintenance and beautification of the historic building. For further information, call 631-751-6208 or visit www.setauketneighborhoodhouse.com.

Game Night in St. James

Join Celebrate St. James for Game Night at the St. James Community Cultural Center, 176 Second St., St. James from 7 to 10 p.m.  Enjoy board games, card games and pizza. $10 donation. To register, visit www.celebratestjames.org.

Fractured Broadway 3 Concert

Friday and Saturday, May 10 & 11 @ 7:30 pm. Riverhead Faculty and Community Theatre presents Fractured Broadway at North Shore United Methodist Church, 260 Rte. 25A, Wading River tonight and May 11 at 7:30 p.m. Dan Grable accompanies RFCT singers on a fun romp through Broadway hits. Tickets are $20,  students $15. Reserve at 631-929-6075 or [email protected]

Grounds and Sounds Concert

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 380 Nicolls Road, E. Setauket hosts a Grounds and Sounds concert featuring Cole Fortier with doors opening at 7:30 p.m., open mic at 8 p.m. followed by featured artist. Tickets are $15 at www.groundsandsounds.org or at the door. 631-751-0297.

Northport Chorale Concert

Middleville Middle School, Middleville Road, Northport will present a concert by the Northport Chorale, “Spring of Dream,”  featuring the Northport Community Jazz Orchestra at 8 p.m. Ticket are $15 and can be purchased at the door. 631-261-1950.

Friday Night Face Off

Long Island’s longest running improv comedy show is coming to the Smithtown Performing Arts Center, 2 Main St., Smithtown tonight, May 17 and May 24 at 8 p.m. Join them for a “Who’s Line Is It Anyway?” style improv competition between the performers. Tickets are $26. To order, visit www.smithtownpac.org.

Saturday May 11

Fractured Broadway 3 Concert

See May 10 listing.

Spring Mother’s Day Market

St Thomas of Canterbury Episcopal Church, 29 Brooksite Drive, Smithtown invites the community to a Spring Mother’s Day Market from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Featuring 70 local artisan vendors, food trucks, live music, face painting, a visit from Sweetbriar Nature Center, and an animal rescue adoption event. For more information, call 631-265-4520.

CSHL Walking Tour

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, 1 Bungtown Road, Cold Spring Harbor will host a guided walking tour of the campus from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Learn about the historic and modern architecture, the Nobel legacy, and the advanced cancer, neuroscience, and plant research taking place at the lab. Fee is $7.18 per person. To register, visit www.cshl.edu. 516-367-8844.

Northport Art and Craft Fair

Northport High School, 154 Laurel Hill Road, Northport presents its annual outdoor Spring Art and Craft Fair from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Featuring over 125 vendors to find that perfect gift for Mother’s Day. Free admission. Event will be moved indoors in the case of rain. 631-846-1459

Spring Wildflower Walk

Join the staff at Caleb Smith State Park Preserve, 581 W. Jericho Turnpike, Smithtown for a Spring Wildflower Walk from 10:30 a.m. to noon. See if you can identify these growing spring treasures with the help of a field guide. Adults only. $4 per person. To register, visit www.eventbrite.com. 631-265-1054

All Souls Poetry Reading

All Souls Church in Stony Brook will host a poetry reading via zoom from 11 a.m. to noon. The featured poet will be Nina Yavel. An open-reading will follow poet; all are welcome to read one of their own poems.  For more information, please call 631-655-7798.  Participants can access the program through the All Souls website https://www.allsouls-stonybrook.org/

An evening of comedy

The Comedy Club returns to Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson at 8 p.m. Treat mom to a night of laughs and non-stop fun with comedians Dan Barry, Rich Walker, Rob Falcone and a surprise guest. Tickets are $40. To order, call 631-928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com.

Sunday May 12

Mother’s Day at the LIM

In honor of Mother’s Day, the Long Island Museum, 1200 Route 25A, Stony Brook will offer free admission to mothers and grandmothers from noon to 5 p.m. Explore the different art exhibits and the state of the art carriage museum. 631-751-0066

Benner’s Farm Concert

Good Earth Soundstage at Benner’s Farm, 56 Gnarled Hollow Road, East Setauket welcomes Bob Westcott and Gerry McKeveny in concert from 3 to 5 p.m. $15 donation at the door. Bring seating. Proceeds will benefit the artists and Homestead Arts for this year’s Fiddle & Folk Festival. 631-689-8172

Monday May 13

Sound Beach Civic Meeting

Sound Beach Fire Department, 152 Sound Beach Blvd., Sound Beach hosts a meeting by the Sound Beach Civic Association at 7:30 p.m. All are welcome. For more information call 631-744-6952.

Tuesday May 14

NSJC Social Club Event

North Shore Jewish Center Social Club, 385 Old Town Road, Port Jefferson Station invites the community to a concert by Joe DiPiola at 11 a.m. Come dance to the live one-man band performing hits of
yesteryear. Bagels, cream cheese and coffee will be served. $5 per person, $4 members. 631-928-3737

Wednesday May 15

Cruise Night Car Show

The Shoppes at East Wind, 5720 Route 25A, Wading River hosts a Cruise Night Car Show every Wednesday through October from 5 to 9 p.m. Visit the Shoppes, enjoy a bite to eat and then check out the fine array of classic cars in the parking lot. 631-929-3500

Hard Luck Cafe Concert

Rod Abernethy and Abigall Dowd, both North Carolina-based singer-songwriters, share the bill during the monthly Hard Luck Café concert series co-presented by the Folk Music Society of Huntington and the Cinema Arts Centre, 423 Park Ave., Huntington in the Cinema’s Sky Room from 7 to 10 p.m. An open mic precedes the concert. Tickets are $20 at www.cinemaartscentre.org or at the door.

Thursday May 16

Museum Day at the MCPL

Middle Country Public Library, 101 Eastwood Blvd., Centereach will hold its annual Museum Day celebration at the Museum Corner from  4 to 7 p.m. Representatives from 30 local museums, historical societies, science and nature centers will be on hand to share information regarding their collections, programs and exhibits. Free. 631-585-9393

Healing Haven Animal Foundation fundraiser

Revival By Toast, 242 East Main St., Port Jefferson hosts a Spring Into Health for Your Dog Celebration with Dr. Lynda Loudon from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Dr. Loudon will be speaking on the top 5 ways to increase your dog’s longevity and meet local canine business owners and professionals. Tickets are $28.52 per person and includes dinner, drinks and raffle tickets. All proceeds support the mission of Healing Haven Animal Foundation. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/spring-into-health-for-your-dog-celebration-tickets-884306262837?aff=oddtdtcreator.  For more information, call 202-422-6782 or email: [email protected]

Film

‘We Are the Warriors’

Port Jefferson Documentary Series Spring line-up continues with a screening of We Are the Warriors at John F. Kennedy MIddle School, 200 Jayne Blvd., Port Jefferson Station on May 13 at 7 p.m. For nearly 70 years, students and alumni of Wells High School in Maine have called themselves the “Warriors.” The school’s mascot, variations of a stoic Native American head in profile with braids and feathered headband, has drawn both support and criticism in the past. However, during the 2017 fall athletic season, an incident shocks the town and reignites the debate. Followed by a Q&A with guest speakers Helen Sells and Robert Thompson, President and VP of the Setalcott Nation. Tickets are $10 in advance at www.portjeffdocumentaryseries.com or at the door (cash only). 

‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’

Cinema Arts Centre, 423 Park Ave., presents a screening of Monty Python and the Holy Grail on May 15 at 7 p.m. A hysterical, historical tour-de-force from Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones, this cult classic comedy from the Monty Python team loosely follows the legend of King Arthur, along with his squire and his Knights of the Round Table as they embark on a fearless quest in search of the elusive Holy Grail. Introduction by Film Historian Glenn Andreiev. Tickets are $16, $10 members. www.cinemaartscentre.org

Theater 

‘Antigone’

Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum, 180 Little Neck Road, Centerport kicks off the 35th annual Shakespeare in the Courtyard Festival with Antigone by Sophocles from May 3 to 26. One of the finest examples of Greek Tragedy, Antigone follows the events of the Oedipus legend, wherein the title character displays great strength as she disobeys King Creon in an attempt to bury her brother in consecrated ground. Presented by the Carriage House Players, the show will take place in the mansion’s Spanish Revival Courtyard on Wednesdays and Fridays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 adults, $15 seniors and children. To order, visit www.vanderbiltmuseum.org.

‘Jersey Boys’

Extended! John W. Engeman Theater, 250 Main St. Northport presents Jersey Boys, the story of Franki Valli & The Four Seasons, from March 14 to June 16. They were just 4 guys from Jersey until they sang their very first note–a sound the radio just couldn’t get enough of. But while their harmonies were perfect on stage, off stage was a different story–a story that has made them a sensation all over again. Winner of the 2006 Tony© Award for “Best Musical,” Jersey Boys features the top ten hits “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like A Man,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” and “December, 1963 (Oh What A Night).” To order tickets, call 631-261-2900 or visit www.engemantheater.com. 

‘The Producers’

Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson presents Mel Brooks’ The Producers from May 18 to June 22. With something to offend everyone, the hilarious show-biz hit follows the antics of a pair of scheming Broadway producers with a plan to put on the biggest flop of all time. Featuring “If You’ve Got It, Flaunt It,” That Face,” “Keep It Gay,” and the outrageous “Springtime for Hitler,” The Producers is a side-splitting musical bliss. Contains adult humor and situations. Tickets are $40 adults, $32 seniors and students, $25 children ages 5 to 12. To order, call 631-928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com. 

Vendors Wanted

Three Village Historical Society, 93 North Country Road Setauket is now accepting vendors for the 10th annual Three Village Farmers & Artisans Market which will be held from May 3 to Oct. 25 (May to August from 3 to 7 p.m., September to October from 3 to 6 p.m. Fee is $650 for full season (25 weeks), $450 half season (12 weeks), $50 pop up per week, food trucks $50 per week. For an application, visit www.tvhs.org

Three Village Historical Society, 93 North Country Road, Setauket seeks vendors for its annual Community Wide Yard Sale on May 18 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Each 10 x 10 space is up for grabs at $50, $35 members. Reserve your spot now at www.tvhs.org/yardsale. 631-751-3730

Long Island Game Farm, 489 Chapman Blvd., Manorville seeks food and flea market vendors for its Wild Treasures Market on June 9, July 14, Aug. 11, Sept. 8 and Oct. 13 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visit www.wildlifesustainability.org/market for more information.

The event will feature a car show. Photo from WMHO

The Ward Melville Heritage Organization’s Spring Appreciation Day returns to the Stony Brook Village Center, 111 Main Street, Stony Brook on April 20 with live music, a car show, a petting zoo, the fire department will be on site, and a scavenger hunt with prizes from 11 a.m to 4 p.m. Throughout Stony Brook Village there will be something for everyone:

The day includes

Stony Brook Grist Mill. Image from WMHO

History: The Stony Brook Grist Mill (c. 1751) will be open for tours ($10 for adults, $5 for children, cash only) from noon to 4 p.m. and shopping in the Country Store. The history of the Grist Mill tour showcases highlights from WMHO’s brandnew program. It interprets the mill as both a place of mechanical ingenuity as well as a site of historic social networking from the early colonial period through the mid-20th century. A live Gypsy Romani music performance will take place from 1:30 p.m. till 3:30 p.m. in honor of the 19th century Miller, Alois Kopriva.

Technology: The Mustang and Shelby Club of Long Island car show will take place between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. and will be located in the parking lot behind the Post Office. They will display over 65 cars with classic Mustangs and the latest cars that Ford has to offer. Automobiles from 1964 – 2023 will be on display, including some special edition Mustangs like the classic Shelby GT500, GT350 and the iconic Boss 302.

Nature: Steppin’ Out Petting Zoo will be set up in the Inner Court with a variety of animals for children to pet from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

The event will feature live music by Brenda and Burke. Photo from WMHO

Music: Brenda and Burke will be performing original and cover songs in the genres of R&B, Roots, Blues and Contemporary Acoustic in the inner court by the waterfall from 1:30 p.m. till 3:30 p.m.

And Discovery: The Ward Melville Heritage Organization (WMHO)’s Youth Corps will be offering a scavenger hunt around Stony Brook Village from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Each person who returns a completed scavenger hunt will be entered into a raffle to win Discovery Wetlands Cruise tickets.

Lastly, the Stony Brook Fire Department will be sharing how you can join as a volunteer, and they will have a vintage firetruck on display during the event.

Spring Appreciation Day is sponsored by News 12, Long Island Speech, First National Bank of Long Island, RJG Consulting Group, and NYLife Insurance Company Agent, Ryan D. DeCicco.

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The Ward Melville Heritage Organization is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation founded in 1939 by businessman and philanthropist Ward Melville. Inspired by his legacy to preserve historic and environmentally sensitive properties, the WMHO continues to protect and interpret these Long Island treasures. The organization creates interdisciplinary educational and cultural experiences that integrate history, art, theater, music, science, and technology for all ages. The organization owns and manages properties deeded to it by Ward Melville, including the Brewster House (c. 1665), the Thompson House (c. 1705), the Stony Brook Grist Mill (c. 1751), which are listed on the state and national register for historic places, the Dr. Erwin Ernst Marine Conservation Center, the pristine 88-acre wetlands preserve at West Meadow, the 11-acre T. Bayles Minuse Mill Pond and adjacent park, two-acre Upper Pond, and the two-acre Jennie Melville Village Green. To learn more about the WMHO, visit www.wmho.org or call (631)-751-2244.

First responders swarm the scene on Feb. 22. Photo by Lynn Hallarman

By Lynn Hallarman

Christian Neubert, third assistant chief for the Port Jefferson Village Fire Department, was first on the scene, responding to the emergency dispatch called to the Port Jefferson fire station at 5:44 AM, Thursday, Feb. 22. 

At 5:46 AM, Neubert arrived at the corner of Thompson Street and East Main Street in the Village to find flames shooting in the air from the roof of a two-car garage on the residential property at 119 East Main Street. He quickly realized the worst was possible and told the dispatcher to alert neighboring fire departments that a full-structure fire was underway. 

When a report of a structure fire is called to the Port Jefferson Fire Department, the Terryville Fire Department is simultaneously alerted, putting in motion a quick response firefighting team as an extra layer of support for dangerous fire situations, Neubert explained the emergency response process in an interview with TBR. “This system is excellent and part of our automatic mutual aid program. And we do the same for Terryville,” he said. 

Belle Terre resident Mel Kravitz, on his early morning walk with his dog, could see the flames reaching into the sky from the Gap parking lot. 

“I heard explosions, then shortly after, I saw the fire trucks shooting down East Main,” Kravitz said. 

At 5:51 AM the Terryville Fire Department arrived on the scene. 

At 6:03 AM,  neighboring fire departments began to arrive to fight the blaze: Setauket Fire DepartmentMount Sinai Fire Department, and Stony Brook Fire Department responded, according to Neubert. The Miller Place Fire Department stood by at the Port Jefferson Fire Station in case an alarm sounded for another village fire. 

After confirming residents were safely outside, the crew assessed if the fire had extended into the house. The fire jumped from the garage and was eating its way through a low roof on the side of the house. Firefighters split efforts between containing the garage fire and extinguishing the rapidly spreading fire inside the home.

Several firefighters were fighting the blaze — some were on the house’s roof and inside the house searching for hot spots, while others drenched the destroyed garage with water. Cars parked inside the garage were now heaps of melted metal. Smoke plumed from burnt remnants, and radiant heat melted the siding off the house next door on Thompson Street. Firefighters doused a charred shed on the adjacent property on East Main. 

At 6:48 AM, the Port Jefferson Fire Department declared the fire incident under control. 

“The theory is the fire originated in a car in the garage,” Neubert said. But as a firefighter, you can’t know.” The incident will now be under investigation by the village Fire Marshall and the Suffolk County police, who make these determinations, he explained. 

No residents were hurt in the fire. A second-degree hand burn sent one firefighter to the emergency room at Stony Brook University Hospital. He was treated and released, according to Neubert. 

Fire Safety Tips

“The number one fire safety tactic is to install smoke detectors,” Neubert said.  

“And don’t assume that the fire department knows because your smoke alarm is going off; call 911 immediately,” he said. 

“Sleep with the doors closed at night. A closed door is imperative to stop fire spread,” he warns.

The Port Jefferson Fire Department has a designated fire alarm hotline: 631-473-3232. 

“We’re proud of having that capability. Residents can call the firehouse directly, saving critical minutes in response time.

Neubert reminds the public that every firefighter in the Port Jefferson fire department is a volunteer.

“Volunteer firefighters responded to this fire, then left, showered, and went to work.”

The Whaling Museum & Education Center, 301 Main St., Cold Spring Harbor has announced its third season of Beyond the Book club. After two successful seasons of this unique, thematic book club, the museum has gained a consistent member base. Even so, there is still room for more bookish folks enamored with the sea to participate. Participants will enjoy fascinating stories paired with the museum’s collection and a special matching snack.

This unique book club series has the museum education team hand selecting texts that are inspired by the sea and utilizes the museum’s collection of over 6,000 artifacts to bring club members closer to the story. Participants are invited to make connections, personal and historical, through up close interactions with relevant objects and facts from Long Island’s maritime past.

Through this tangible way of interacting with objects, book clubbers are immersed in the theme of the text and find new perspectives to understand the narrative. In addition, the museum education team pairs a special snack with the text for each session, further engaging participants. 

Liz Cousins, a participant in this past fall and spring book club sessions, had this to say about Beyond the Book — “Thanks again for putting this book club together! I’m not usually a “book club” type  […] but THIS, I LOVE.” The Whaling Museum’s book club aims to gain a new audience of readers through this unique approach. 

The January session will take place on Jan. 25. Book clubbers will gather to discuss The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness by Sy Montgomery followed by an examination of historical documents from the museum’s collection that reveal how 19th century whalers viewed whales and how these views have changed over time.

The February session will take place on Feb. 29 featuring Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge by Erica Armstrong Dunbar. Enjoy an intimate look at the museum’s special exhibit From Sea to Shining Sea: Whalers of the African Diaspora and discover the surprising role the whaling industry played in carrying people to freedom.

Lastly, on March 28, book clubbers will gather to discuss Ahab’s Wife, or The Star-Gazer by Sena Jeter Naslund. Participants will inspect artifacts and writings left behind by Cold Spring Harbor whaling wives to see how closely Naslund’s fiction imitates fact.

“It has been an absolute joy to watch our book club continue to grow and to be a part of the wonderful community that has formed during these sessions.  We can’t wait to share more of our collection and explore new stories with this group in the new year,” said Brenna McCormick-Thompson, Curator of Education.

Each book club meeting will start at 6:30 p.m. and is approximately 1 hour long. Coffee (compliments of Starbucks of Huntington Village), tea and cookies will be served.

Beyond the Book club sessions are free for museum members and patrons of the museum’s partner libraries, Huntington Public Library and South Huntington Public Library. All others may attend for $15 per session. Register at www.cshwhalingmuseum.org/bookclub. For more information, call 631-367-3418.

This article originally appeared in TBR News Media’s Prime Times senior supplement on 01/25/24.

Have your photo taken with Elsa from ‘Frozen’ at this wintry celebration. Photo from The Whaling Museum

The Whaling Museum and Education Center, 301 Main St., Cold Spring Harbor is bringing back its Narwhal Ball for a second year in a row on Sunday, February 4 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (10:30 a.m. for members). This popular winter celebration promises to excite guests with arctic tales and treasures including a very special guest from the north, the icy queen Elsa.

The museum will welcome visitors into a magical winter wonderland with snowflakes and glittering lights throughout the museum. To further immerse visitors in the icy feels of winter, the museum’s workshop will once again be fashioned into an old school ice cream parlor serving two flavors of delicious Original Recipe Ice Cream courtesy of Kilwin’s of Huntington. Every ticket includes a scoop to sit and enjoy.

Guests will learn all about arctic creatures through interactive presentations where polar animal tusks will be exhibited for exploring. The museum education team will share facts and engage kids in the wonderment of the world’s coldest regions. 

Throughout the museum, participants will find lots of frosty crafts to make and take and fun arctic learning activities. Crafts will include Painting with Ice, a beloved activity where kids can let their creativity shine like the Northern Lights! Guests will make a stop at the Wheel of Fortune: Arctic Edition activity table where they can challenge their knowledge of arctic creatures and win a prize. More crafts and activities await Narwhal Ball-goers at every turn including some new surprises for this year.

Guests will gather around as Elsa shares Nordic tales from her icy domain. When not sharing fascinating tales of encounters with polar creatures and brave adventurers, Elsa will be waiting to meet guests in front of a snow filled backdrop, a perfect photo opportunity.

“Narwhals have inspired story tellers for thousands of years with thoughts of unicorns and mystical creatures galore. This event is a celebration of awe-inspiring arctic animals, shimmering snow-covered lands and the adventurers that explored these icy places. We can’t wait to share it with you!” said Brenna McCormick-Thompson, Curator of Education at The Whaling Museum.

The Whaling Museum is selling limited timed tickets online until Friday, February 2 at noon at  $20  per child, $8 adults, $6 seniors;  $15 per child, $5 adults/seniors for museum members. Tickets at the door will be $25 per child, $8 adults, $6 seniors; $20 per child, $5 adults/senior for museum members. To order, visit www.cshwhalingmuseum.org. For further information, call 631-367-3418.