Authors Posts by Giselle Barkley

Giselle Barkley

Giselle Barkley is a reporter and a Stony Brook University graduate. She loves photography, videography and spending time her family and friends.

Coldwell Banker offices across Long Island, like the office in Setauket, are helping veterans residing at the United Veterans Beacon House. Photo by Giselle Barkley

The Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage typically help residents find a place to call home. But now, the company is on a mission to help veterans in need, with its Hometown Heroes Linen Drive.

Associate Broker Lorraine Marotta of the Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Setauket said the company started the drive earlier this year in January. Coldwell Banker offices across Long Island are participating in this initiative. Their goal is to collect 3,700 sets of linens including twin sheet sets and standard pillowcases, new pillows, new bath towels and new comforters. They hope to collect 700 of each by July 4 of this year.

The linens will go toward the veterans living in homes provided by the United Veterans Beacon House in Bay Shore. Many of these veterans can’t live on their own, Marotta said. Hall-Lane Moving and Storage, which provided each office with large collection boxes, is responsible for picking up and delivering the supplies to Beacon House the associate broker added.

The Beacon House mission is to provide temporary and permanent housing for homeless veterans as well as “emergency, transitional and permanent residence for families” and single individuals. The organization strives for privacy when it comes to its veterans. Some of these veterans are housed discreetly throughout Long Island communities.

Of the organization’s more than 20 housing locations, around nine  homes are designated for veterans. One of these homes is dedicated to female veterans while another is for the frail and elderly, according to the organization’s site.

This isn’t the first time Coldwell Banker has worked with Beacon House and assisted veterans utilizing Beacon House services. In the past they’ve scheduled appointments to visit and provide new flags and a Thanksgiving meal among other items, to these veterans.

On April 14 the organization met with the Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage of Long Island and Queens in Huntington to collect the first donations for the drive.

For Marotta caring for veterans hits close to home as her husband is a veteran as well. But her passion for the drive also stems from the fact that it’s a great cause.

“It’s nice to be able to recognize veterans,” Marotta said. “I feel like they’ve just been forgotten. Not only are they lonely they’re so appreciative.”

The community can drop off new linens at their local Coldwell Banker. For more information about the Hometown Heroes Linen Drive call 516-864-8104.

The former Selden Thrift Shop, which relocated in Selden as Island Thrift, is being torn down. An ALDI supermarket will be built on Middle Country Road site. Photo by Heidi Sutton

ALDI, the German discount supermarket chain, is expanding its business to Selden. Construction is currently underway at 614 Middle Country Road. The new market, which will  join Family Dollar, Carvel and others in the Westfield Shopping Center, is the fifth store to be built in Suffolk County, joining locations in  Lake Grove, Bay Shore, Lindenhurst and Patchogue.

The food retailer will replace the former site of the Selden Thrift Shop, which relocated further west a few years ago and is now called Island Thrift.

ALDI, which first came to the United States in 1976, claims on its website that shoppers can save 50 percent over traditional supermarkets on the items it carries. Customers can use a quarter to receive a shopping cart and are encouraged to bring their own bags. ALDI’s parent company, Albrecht Discount, also owns Trader Joe’s. Both chains follow a similar model, carrying almost exclusively private-label items in smaller-sized stores.

In light of the expansion ALDI, is hiring a store associate, a shift manager and a manager trainee for $12.75, $17.00,d $25 per hour, respectively. The chain is offering medical, dental, vision coverage and a retirement savings plan. For more information, visit the Patchogue ALDI at 367 Sunrise Highway, the Lake Grove ALDI at 139 Alexander Avenue and the Bay Shore ALDI at 1851 Sunrise Highway.  

ALDI’s was not available for comment on the expansion.

Town Assessor Ron Devine, above, said the state abolished the March 1 deadline to apply for STAR exemption, meaning that residents won’t have to wait a full year to receive their exemptions. Photo by Giselle Barkley

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance will see an influx in state school tax relief applications after the state revamps its STAR program.

The change affects new homeowners, buyers and those building a home in the Basic and Enhanced STAR Programs. Residents who changed their primary residence from last March onward, must apply to the program, through the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance, for an approved exemption. Long Islanders who started constructing their homes within the same time frame are affected, according to Town of Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) and Town Assessor Ron Devine.

Devine said residents who have the program up to the 2015-16 tax year will maintain their exemptions. According to Devine, “anyone who is in the system is in the system.” The town will also maintain its approximate 15,000 Enhanced STAR program holders. These holders will receive renewal letters this fall.

The Enhanced STAR program benefits senior citizens 65-years-old and exempts the first $65,300 of the home’s value from school taxes. The basic STAR program, however, is available for owner-occupied primary residences where the homeowners’ and their spouses’ income is less than $500,000. The program exempts $30,000 of the home’s value from school taxes.

According to Romaine, the change in the application process may only affect 3 to 5 percent of homes in the town. But the supervisor questioned if the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance bit off more than it could chew.

“My big concern is that if they’re not staffed, there’ll be a huge backlog of processing that will occur,” Romaine said during a meeting at town hall. “People won’t get their check on time, and it will put people who are either buying a house or building a house in severe disadvantage.”

But the NYS tax department said this change won’t be an issue. According to the department, it successfully processed 2.4 million tax returns after implementing the initial STAR registration program in 2013. The department typically receives around 150,000 applications annually.

The New York State Legislature passed the law earlier this year to change how towns enforce the program within the state. New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) called for the new application process for first-time homeowners and buyers in his 2017 Executive Budget. The budget was approved on April 1.

“The STAR exemption is the only property tax exemption funded by New York State,” the NYS tax department said in an email. “Therefore, it’s more appropriate and efficient for it to be administered by the state rather than by local assessors.”

According to the NYS tax department, residents can start applying through the department in the upcoming weeks by calling the department or visiting its website. Although residents once received credits on their income tax forms, holders receiving an exemption will get a check in the same amount as their STAR benefit.

For more information about the STAR program, residents can call the Town Assessor’s office at 631-451-6300. New homeowners can apply for STAR with the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance by calling 516-571-1500 or visiting its website at

Councilwoman Jane Bonner, left, stands next to honoree Mark Baisch and alongside VFW members and honoree Natalie Stiefel, center, at the Rocky Point Lion’s Club’s Taste of Long Island event. Photo by Giselle Barkley

Around 250 people dressed to impress for the Rocky Point Lion’s Clubs’ ninth Taste of Long Island event, including two residents whose work has made a difference in the community.

The club honored Mark Baisch, president of Landmark Properties, and Natalie Aurucci Stiefel, president of the Rocky Point Historical Society on Wednesday, April 20, at the East Wind Inn and Spa in Shoreham. Baisch, a developer whose work has helped preserve historic sites and provided affordable homes for veterans, their families and other members of the community, said he felt honored by the recognition but added he couldn’t have come this far on his own.

“They’re honoring me, but I hope tonight, that I honor the rest of the people who were involved in helping me do what we’ve done,” Baisch said.

The club notified the duo a few months ago. Stiefel wasn’t only honored but proud to be part of the club’s Taste of Long Island event, adding that she thinks it’s a feat that doesn’t come easily.

“I’ve done some work with different organizations and it’s wonderful to be pointed out and shown at some special event like tonight,” Stiefel said. “I appreciate it so much.”

Councilwoman Jane Bonner talks about the honorees during the event. Photo by Giselle Barkley
Councilwoman Jane Bonner talks about the honorees during the event. Photo by Giselle Barkley

Baisch and Stiefel teamed up a few years ago to save Rocky Point’s Noah Hallock house, the oldest house in the hamlet. Noah Hallock built the approximate 295-year-old house that provided shelter for eight generations of his family. The land was sold to the Via Cava family in 1964, and that family sold the property to the historical society in 2013. Basich issued an extended no-interest mortgage on the property to help further preserve the home for future generations.

They also helped veteran Deborah Bonacasa and her 5-year-old daughter Lilianna find a place to call home. Last December, Bonacasa’s husband Louis was killed in a suicide bomb attack during his fourth deployment to Afghanistan.

In honor of their achievements, Town of Brookhaven Councilwoman Jane Bonner (C-Rocky Point) named April 20 after Baisch and Stiefel in the Town of Brookhaven. The councilwoman commended both residents for their efforts. According to Bonner, without Stiefel’s tenacity when it came to preserving the Noah Hallock home, Baisch wouldn’t have been able to help.

While the councilwoman has known Baisch for eight years, she and VFW Post 6249 Commander Joe Cognitore have known Stiefel for a long time.

Cognitore, who was a former Lion’s Club honoree, met Stiefel in the early 1990s. He said Stiefel is a tireless worker and a part of the VFW family.

According to event organizer Bill Johnson, this year’s dinner was the club’s largest to date. Tickets were $60 in advance and $75 at the door. Proceeds went toward the Rocky Point Historical Society, the Marty Lyons Foundation and the Rocky Point Lions Club.

Johnson said the club goes to former honorees and asks for their input regarding upcoming honorees.

“Very honestly, I did not know Mark Baisch or Natalie Stiefel before they were recommended,” Johnson said. “In retrospect, they’re absolutely the right people to be honoring tonight.”

Residents wrote a message or the name of someone they lost to a drug overdose at the top of the white bags and placed them around the base of Gabriel Phillippe’s Belonging Tree during the candlelight ceremony. Photo by Giselle Barkley

Love and grief go hand-in-hand when it comes to the death of a family member.

Six years after 15-year-old Gabriel Phillippe died of a heroin overdose, his family, members of the North Shore Youth Council and surrounding community, showed that love never dies in the midst of tragedy.

Last Friday, the Phillippe family and town residents joined the youth council in remembering Gabe, who died on April 22, 2010, and others who lost their battle to an addiction. According to North Shore Youth Council Executive Director Janene Gentile, the ceremony, Light A Candle For Gabe and Those We Have Lost Due to the Battle of Addiction, focused on supporting one another and honoring the emotions that accompany the drug-related death of a loved one. Claudia Friszell, an advisory committee member for the Families in Support of Treatment organization, reminded those in attendance that remembering loved ones is a process.

“In order for you to heal, you no longer wear your grief as a badge,” Friszell said during the ceremony. “But you own it and hold onto it and let it go. That doesn’t mean you stop grieving or stop remembering. It just means you’ve let that grief evolve.”

According to social worker and attorney Millicent Garofalo, grief is a sign of how much one person or people loved another. Garofalo added that the community discusses a parent’s grief over losing a child, but forgets that this situation also affects siblings.

Residents wrote a message or the name of someone they lost to a drug overdose at the top of the white bags and placed them around the base of Gabriel Phillippe’s Belonging Tree, above, during the candlelight ceremony. Photo by Giselle Barkley
Residents wrote a message or the name of someone they lost to a drug overdose at the top of the white bags and placed them around the base of Gabriel Phillippe’s Belonging Tree, above, during the candlelight ceremony. Photo by Giselle Barkley

“They’re losing someone they’ve known forever,” Garofalo said during the ceremony. “When you lose the sibling, you’re losing a part of yourself.”

Gabe’s father, Bryan Phillippe, was among the ceremony speakers at the youth council’s headquarters on the Joseph A. Edgar Intermediate School grounds. While he said his family did what they could to help Gabe, he added that addicts must also be willing to accept help. Marcie Wilson, office manager at the youth council, said this wasn’t the first time Gabe’s family contacted the youth council about holding a candle lighting for the teen and others who died because of addiction.

Each resident received a small white bag containing a flameless candle that attendees placed at the base of Gabe’s Belonging Tree outside the North Shore Youth Council. Attendees were asked to write down a positive and negative memory. Papers containing negative memories were burned after residents finished arranging the white bags and placing white flowers into Gabe’s tree.

“This disease has affected Long Island so badly, and the disease of addiction is a family disease,” said Huntington Station resident Emma Amoreisky, whose son battled alcohol addiction for several years. She added that while she understands the pain of those whose children are still suffering, she “can’t even imagine the pain of the ones who’ve already lost their child.”

According to Founder and Executive Director of FIST, Anthony Rizzuto, addiction doesn’t discriminate. Some families or individuals dealing with drug addiction aren’t always comfortable asking for help. Rizzuto said, “until we can stop the stigma and stop the shame associated with addiction, it’s going to be really hard to make a difference.”

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The Comsewogue Public Library held its second Pet Adoption Fair on April 23, showcasing several animals from local shelters who are looking for adoptive homes.

Save-A-Pet Animal Rescue and Adoption Center, Brookhaven Animal Shelter, Grateful Paw Cat Shelter, Live Love Bark, the Long Island Parrot Society and other animal organizations brought some of their furry friends to the fair.

There were dogs of different ages and breeds greeting people inside the library, bringing light to a rainy day.

Pony Boy, who was named after a song by the Allman, will greet visitors on Feb. 13. Photo by Giselle Barkley

He might be under five feet tall but 25-year-old Pony Boy at the Smithtown Historical Society farm has a big presence. For this pony, the farm isn’t just a sanctuary, it is also a place where he can help teach children about animal ownership and farm life.

As the Historical Society’s sole stallion, Pony Boy will extend a helping hoof for the society’s Help a Horse Day events on April 25 and 26.

According to the society’s website, Help a Horse Day is a national campaign started by the ASPCA to raise awareness  of the plight of horses and encourage equine rescue.

Kris Melvin-Denenberg, director of Development and Public Relations at the society said Pony Boy and his companion, a female donkey named Jenni Henrietta, were purchased 14 years ago from a farm that closed in Huntington around that time. The director added that it’s possible the small horse was abused in the past. When Pony Boy first arrived on the farm, he didn’t like any male volunteers to approach him from his left side, which is where people typically approach when greeting a horse or pony.

Pony Boy’s best friend, Peter the sheep, lays in the sun after resting inside the barn. Photo by Giselle Barkley
Pony Boy’s best friend, Peter the sheep, lays in the sun after resting inside the barn. Photo by Giselle Barkley

“He’s a prime example of what a good foster [process] we do,” Melvin-Denenberg said. “Over time he became more and more accepting of men and now there are guys who can put a halter on him, which we could never do before.”

Despite his initial timid disposition Melvin-Denenberg said their pony is always gentle when interacting with children.

Pony Boy didn’t only get used to men or being in the spotlight when kids are near, but he also made a new friend while living at the farm. When Jenni Henrietta passed away several years ago, the stallion gravitated to Peter, a blind sheep living on the farm. Before Peter developed cataracts, the duo bonded. Pony Boy now helps Peter when he needs a farm friend to lean on.

While members of the historical society’s farm animals usually call out to members of their group if they are separated, Melvin-Denenberg said Pony Boy and Peter will sit in close proximity to one another and communicate. She added that horses can form a bond with any animal with whom they share their home.

“They’re herd animals,” she said about horses. “So they are very social and they get very upset if their companions … get separated. They do have concerns — they do worry and look out for each other.”

But the animals aren’t the only ones looking out for each other. Melvin-Denenberg said programs like the Help a Horse Day event teach children how to care for an animal. It also helps them understand the benefits of having a horse on a farm. In the past, horses provided transportation, plowed the crop fields and provided fresh manure for the farmer’s crops. In return, the farmer would care for the horse.

The society doesn’t just want to show families how animals like horses helped on the farm, they also want to encourage people to familiarize themselves with the needs of the animal they wish to adopt. They hope to do so through their programs.

The main difference between ponies like Pony Boy and horses is the animals’ heights. Photo by Giselle Barkley
The main difference between ponies like Pony Boy and horses is the animals’ heights. Photo by Giselle Barkley

“We want [children] to learn about the responsibilities of adopting an animal whether it be a horse, a sheep or a fish. You need to do your research,” Melvin-Denenberg said. “Find out everything you can about the animal. Learn how to properly groom the animal [and] what their veterinary needs are.”

Families can learn more about farm animals like Pony Boy  and horses overall on Monday, April 25, at the Frank Brush Barn, 211 Middle Country Road, Smithtown, at 7 p.m. as Town Historian and Board President Brad Harris presents a lecture titled Famous Horses of Smithtown. Admission is free.

As part of the society’s Spring Break programs, children ages 6 to 12 can come meet Pony Boy, learn  about animal care and how horses helped farmers, and create horse-related crafts on Tuesday, April 26, from 9:30 a.m. to noon in the Frank Brush Barn. Cost is $25 and $22.50 for members and includes a snack and a beverage. Registration is required by calling 631-265-6768.

Finally, children ages 3 to 5 can take part in a child and caregiver horse-themed reading adventure at a program titled Tales for Tots: Horses! on April 26 at the society’s Roseneath Cottage at 239 Main Street, Smithtown, from 11 a.m. to noon. This event is free but registration is required by calling the Smithtown Library at 631-360-2480.

The Red Cross is highlighting Joe and Lori-Ann Spaccarelli in honor of National Volunteer Week. Photo from Donna Nicholls

The Spaccarelli siblings don’t argue often. But when they do, it’s about preparing people for calamities like house fires through their fire safety programs at the Red Cross.

Last year, Joe Spaccarelli joined the Red Cross after seven children died in a house fire in Midwood, Brooklyn, in March 2015. According to Spaccarelli, the family’s hot plate malfunctioned and the only working smoke alarm was in the basement of the home. The incident was enough to make Spaccarelli quit his job of 27-years to work full-time for the Red Cross as a lead for its home fire safety program. Spaccarelli started volunteering for the Red Cross during Superstorm Sandy, in 2012.

“When that happened, I lifted an eyebrow going ‘huh, it must be a very worthy cause,’” said Lori-Ann, Spaccarelli’s younger sister, about her brother quitting his job to work for the Red Cross.

Lori-Ann Spaccarelli, of Farmingdale, joined the organization as a volunteer last year. She became one of the Long Island volunteer leads for the Home Fire Safety program, after her brother left the position in September to be the program director for Get Alarmed New York City. The Red Cross volunteer and elementary school art teacher in Syosset school district said she couldn’t “say no” to helping a program that her brother loved.

The Red Cross’s Home Fire Safety and Get Alarmed New York City programs don’t only focus on educating people about fire safety and the importance of fire and smoke alarms. Volunteers also install smoke alarms free of charge. The fire safety program aims to reduce home fire-related deaths by 25 percent.

The goal of Get Alarmed NYC is to establish 100,000 smoke alarms in the NYC region within two years. The siblings said they install three to four alarms per home. While they said some homes don’t have an alarm at all, other homes don’t always have one that is working.

“When we go into a lot of these homes, it’s either that the smoke detectors aren’t working, the batteries are missing or the batteries are low,” Joe Spaccarelli said. “It beeps, they take the battery out.”

Spaccarelli added that some residents never get a chance to replace the batteries. Forty percent of the time, fire-related deaths and injuries occur when there isn’t a working alarm in the residence. According to Red Cross CEO Elizabeth Barker, the Red Cross responds nationally to around 70,000 home fires a year. Home fire preparedness isn’t simply about adding smoke detectors and informing people about escape plans, but also about educating young children.

Lori-Ann Spaccarelli started the Pillowcase Project in her school. The program teaches young kids how to get out and cope with home fires and other hazardous. The Disney-sponsored program began after Hurricane Katrina, when college students in Louisiana packed various items in their pillowcases before heading to a shelter.

According to the Spaccarellis, the program puts children at ease during a tragedy, which also helps parents remain calm.

“The children exiting those [Pillowcase Project] lessons come out with much more confidence and conviction when they go home to let their parents know,” Joe Spaccarelli said. “They know what to do and they’re comfortable.”

While the duo didn’t have any prior experience running these kinds of programs, helping others is in their blood.

Growing up, the Spaccarellis said their parents regularly gave back to their community, which encouraged the siblings to help others as well.

For the siblings, helping others is a family affair and Barker said the pair brings that same vibe to the Red Cross.

“Usually what I have is a husband-wife duo,” Barker said. “It’s been really fun to have this brother-sister dynamic to work with. It makes it feel more like a family.”

Event attendees learn how to use Narcan to counteract opioid overdoses. Photo by Giselle Barkley

By Giselle Barkley

Parents and students alike walked out of Mount Sinai High School knowing the ugly truth about heroin and opioid use and addiction. But they also walked away with a lesson about Narcan.

Event attendees learn how to use Narcan to counteract opioid overdoses. Photo by Giselle Barkley
Event attendees learn how to use Narcan to counteract opioid overdoses. Photo by Giselle Barkley

The school district held it’s first “The Ugly Truth” presentation on Tuesday in the Mount Sinai High School auditorium. Suffolk County Police Department officer George Lynagh, EMS officer Jason Byron and county Medical Examiner Michael Caplan tackled the origins of heroin and trends among addicts over the years. Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) and Town of Brookhaven Councilwoman Jane Bonner (C-Rocky Point) also spoke at the event.

But residents didn’t simply learn about heroin on the Island, they also left with their own Narcan kits after Byron led a Narcan training class. According to Sgt. Kathleen Kenneally of the police department’s Community Response Bureau, Narcan, also known as Naloxone, was successfully administered around 530 times since the opiate antidote was introduced to the police department in July 2012.

Narcan, which reverses the effect of heroin or other opiate-based overdoses, can be administered via an injection or nasal spray. Mount Sinai resident Susan Matias said the spray is a friendly option for community members.

“Here, it’s introduced through the nasal passages — there’s no harm done, you’re not afraid of administering a needle and/or sticking yourself in the moment of chaos,” Matias said. “I think that’s why people are more open to partake and participate in the training.”

The nasal spray also makes it easier for people who still have a stigma about drug addicts and users. Byron reminded residents that the face of addicts has evolved and they’re not the only ones in need of drugs like Narcan.

“Sadly, the connotation is, we think people that could have overdosed are dirty when really it doesn’t have to be,” Byron said. “For opiate overdose, it doesn’t mean that it’s someone addicted to heroin. It could be somebody who’s possibly on pain management for cancer, end of life care, hospice care. It’s not the stereotypical — I hate to say it — junkie. That’s not what we’re seeing out there.”

According to Caplan, in the last few years, drug addicts who’ve overdosed on the substance have gotten younger and younger. The rate of opiate overdose deaths has increased by 140 percent since 2000. Synthetic opioids, like fentanyl, are responsible for 80 percent of these death rate increases.

Fentanyl, which some dealers or users will mix with another drug like heroin, is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. Combining this drug with others can make it difficult when administering Narcan.

“One of the problems with Fentanyl is, because it’s so potent, because it acts so fast, you may need to give multiple doses of Naloxone,” Caplan said.

According to Lynagh, the police department is starting to see higher levels of Fentanyl. He added that in his more than three decades as a police officer, the drug is one of the more addictive drugs he has seen. Lynagh added that heroin was initially introduced to combat morphine addiction.

“We don’t have too many people addicted to morphine now,” Lynagh said. “We have this heroin addiction, so sometimes we mean to do something well or combat a drug or something bad, with something else that’s bad.”

File photo
Grace Marie Damico, St. JamesGrace-Marie-Damico-Presidential-Primaries_2016_05_barkleyw
Q: Will you vote in the primary?
A: Yes.
Q: Why?
A: Because I think that the country is in dire straits right now, and the more people that get out and vote for who they prefer, the better the country will be. Hopefully we can bring this country back.

John Hayes, CoramJohn-Hayes-Presidential-Primaries_2016_04_barkleyw
Q: Will you vote in the primary?
A: Yes
Q: Why?
A: Because it’s too dangerous not to vote. It’s a very important election. I believe Donald Trump is a very dangerous man. I believe that every vote counts against him. If you don’t vote, it’s a vote for Donald Trump.

Charles Spinnato, Port JeffCharles-Spinnato-Presidential-Primaries_2016_06w
Q: Will you vote in the primary?
A: Yes. I want to choose who I want to vote for [and] who I want to be the nominee for the Republican Party. So I would vote in the primaries to make that choice. [It’s a] very interesting election this year.

James Turrill, MasticJames-Turrill-Presidential-Primaries_2016_01_barkleyw
Q: Will you vote in the primary?
A: I’ve never voted in the primaries before but I want to.
Q: Why?
A: I’m fed up with politicians. Look what [U.S. President Barack] Obama has done to this country. He’s destroyed it. I want somebody not like him.

By Giselle Barkley

The 2016 U.S. presidential candidates from both sides of the aisle made their way to New York to continue rallying support this week.

And by next Tuesday, New Yorkers can make a difference when they vote for their nominee in the closed primary.

Suffolk County Republican Chair John Jay LaValle said this is the first primary in three decades where New York State’s vote is this relevant.

“By the time the vote gets to New York, it’s usually over and it’s a functional exercise when the candidates run,” LaValle said.

When asked how running in New York differed from campaigning in other states, LaValle said, “New Yorkers like to hear it straight.” The Republican chair added that voters in this state are very engaged, intelligent and are more skeptical when it comes to casting a vote.

But Lillian Clayman, chair of Brookhaven’s Democratic Committee said “unless there’s this huge ideological chasm with the candidates,” running in New York isn’t much different than in other states.

The presidential primaries allow voters to help determine the presidential nominees for their respective parties. Of the nominees, GOP frontrunner Donald Trump is doing well on Long Island, LaValle said. He added that people are getting tired of hearing the typical political rhetoric they hear from the other 2016 presidential candidates.

Although Clayman said she doesn’t know what’s to come for next week’s primaries, she said Democratic nominees, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont) have energized residents, even those who usually don’t vote during the primaries.

Registered voters can choose their nominees on Tuesday, April 19.

Visit for more information on deadlines and where residents can vote.