Authors Posts by Kyle Barr

Kyle Barr

Kyle Barr
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Frank Schiavone

Frank “Francesco” Schiavone, of Brookhaven died July 31. He was 91.

Schiavone was born April 15, 1928, in Brooklyn, the son of the late Francesco and the late Lucia (Daraio) Schiavone. 

He was a proud veteran, serving in the Army from 1947 to 1949. He was employed as a machinist at Kraft Mech in Bohemia. He is survived by his beloved wife, May (Benvenuta) (Calvacca) Schiavone; one loving daughter, LuAnn Schiavone of Coram; and one loving son, Ignatius (Nate) Schiavone of Bohemia. He also has five cherished grandchildren and three cherished great-grandchildren. 

All services were entrusted to the Rocky Point Funeral Home, 603 Route 25A, Rocky Point. Cremation was private. An online guest book can be found at www.rockypointfuneralhome.com.

Denise Young

Denise D. Young, of Ridge, died July 27. She was 40. 

Young was born Oct. 19, 1978, in Plainfield, New Jersey. She was employed by Right at Home Cares in Miller Place as a home health aide. She was the beloved daughter of Ronald and Lydia (Jammal) Mihalek. 

She is survived by her two cherished daughters Sierra Young of Starlight, Pennsylvania, and Mariah Young of Ridge; and two loving brothers Donald Mihalek of Winter Garden, Florida, and Daniel Mihalek of Midland, Virginia. 

A Mass of Christian burial was celebrated Aug. 2 at St. Mark’s R.C. Church in Shoreham followed by a private cremation ceremony. 

Services were entrusted to the Rocky Point Funeral Home, located 603 Route 25A, Rocky Point. An online guest book can be found at www.rockypointfuneralhome.com. 

Edna Kenski

Edna A. Kenski, of Mineola, died July 27. She was 87.

Kenski was born Jan. 16, 1932, in Mineola, and was the daughter of the late Richard and the late Margaret (Kammerer) Rueb. 

She was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Frank Kenski in 1999. She was employed as a manager by Verizon in Hempstead. 

She is survived by her loving children Karen (Carmine) Abbatiello of Ridge and Frank (Kathy) Kenski of Selden. She is also survived by seven cherished grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. 

Celebration of the Mass of Christian burial was held Aug. 1 at St. Anthony of Padua R.C. Church in Rocky Point, with a burial following at Holy Rood Cemetery in Westbury. 

Services were entrusted to the Rocky Point Funeral Home, located 603 Route 25A, Rocky Point. An online guest book can be found at www.rockypointfuneralhome.com. 

Donna Marie Durney

Donna Marie Durney, of Rocky Point, died July 18. She was 53. 

Durney was born Feb. 6, 1966, in Brooklyn, the daughter of Clifford and the late Mildred (Faucci) Dean. 

She is survived by her beloved husband, James Durney; her loving children, including her daughter, Taylor Durney, and her son, Jack Durney. She was the dear sister of two brothers, James Dean and Clifford Dean. 

Cremation was held private, while a memorial was held at the Rocky Point Funeral Home, located at 603 Route 25A, Rocky Point. An online guest book is available at www.rockypointfuneralhome.com.

Anne Davis

Anne “Anna” Davis, of Hawthorne, died July 1. She was 90.

Davis was born June 8, 1929, in the Bronx, the daughter of the late Harry and the late Fay (Foxman) Dorfman. 

She was employed by New City schools as a teacher. 

She is survived by her son, Warren Davis of Yonkers; sister-in-law, Madelyn Dorfman of Ridge;  her niece, Debra Botens of Norwalk, Connecticut; and her nephew, Robert Dorfman of Holbrook. A memorial service was held July 27 at Rocky Point Funeral Home, located at 603 Route 25A, Rocky Point. Cremation was private. 

An online guest book is available at www.rockypointfuneralhome.com. 

David Krohmer

David Krohmer, of Rocky Point, died July 19. He was 58. 

Krohmer was born Feb. 18, 1961, in Port Jefferson, the son of Edward and the late Nora (O’Connor) Krohmer. 

He was employed by Adchem in Riverhead as a machinist. 

He is survived by his father, Edward Krohmer of Port Jefferson; sister, Donna Famiglietti of Rocky Point; and brother, Edward Krohmer of Miller Place. 

Memorial visitation was held July 25 at the Rocky Point Funeral Home, located at 603 Route 25A, Rocky Point. Cremation was private. 

An online guest book can be found at www.rockypointfuneralhome.com. 

Joanne Lucille Boeger

Joanne Lucille Boeger, of Ridge, died July 11. 

Boeger was born in Boston March 30, 1934, and graduated salutatorian from Abbington High. 

She grew up in Quincy, Massachusetts. She married Richard M. Boeger, after meeting in Hyannis. They raised four children in Massapequa Park, where they were members of St. David’s Lutheran Church. She created Heptas, a women’s educational self-improvement group. She became a life insurance agent for Aid Association for Lutherans in the 1970s and was the first woman to hold that position in the Long Island agency. 

Boeger and her husband, Dick, retired to Sutton, West Virginia, where she began painting in many various mediums, settling on water colors as her favorite. She also became an avid gardener and was president of Judy’s Garden Club in Sutton. She loved reading (mostly history), birding and wildlife magazines. She was a member of the Suffolk Chapter of the DAR and the Rich Family Association. She returned to Long Island in 2012 and lived in Leisure Knoll in Ridge. Recently, she had been living with her daughter and granddaughter in Washington state, returning to Ridge for vacations and family events. She had returned to New York for one such event but passed away in her sleep in her own home. She will be buried in Hingham, Massachusetts, in a family plot with her mother, paternal grandparents and great-grandparents.

She is survived by four children, Lynne Plewa of Bellevue, Washington, Richard M. Boeger Jr., of Redlands, California, Bonnie J. Boeger of Sound Beach and Wade Preston Boeger of Pennsylvania; and her sister, Betty Tuttle of Columbus, Indiana. She is also a cherished grandmother of seven, and great-grandmother of one.

Her family is proud of her and her lifelong love of learning, history, the arts and nature.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks people to make donations in her name to the Alzheimer’s Association or another deserving charity.

Services were entrusted to the Rocky Point Funeral Home, 603 Route 25A, Rocky Point. Cremation was private. 

An online guest book can be found at www.rockypointfuneralhome.com.

Matthew S. Procelli

Matthew S. Procelli of Bethesda, Maryland, formerly of Port Washington, East Northport and Fort Salonga, passed away peacefully on July 28 at 93 years of age. Loving husband of the late Marion Mahoney-Procelli; beloved father of Robert; adoring father-in-law of Mary;  cherished grandfather of Michael, David and Nicholas; and great-grandfather of Josephine. Procelli had a long career at Long Island Lighting Company as vice president of industrial relations and vice president of personnel. He was a visiting professor at Stony Brook University business school. Visitation was held Aug. 1 at Nolan Funeral Home in Northport. Funeral Mass was celebrated Aug. 2 at St. Anthony of Padua Church, East Northport. Interment was at Mount St. Mary’s Cemetery, 172-00 Booth Memorial Ave. in Flushing. In Matthew’s memory donations to  Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (www.alzfdn.org) are appreciated.

William H. Davenport 

William H. Davenport of Greenlawn died at 83 years of age. He was the manager of Lewis Oliver Dairy, a community farm in Northport. Davenport was the beloved husband of the late Jean; father of Laura Jean Michta, William H. Davenport, III (Thami) and Kenneth Davenport (Barbara); fond brother of Donna Scarola (the late Capt. Mike), Robert Davenport (Pat), Joseph Davenport (Peggy) and Larry Davenport (Grace); brother-in-law of Diane Cobb (John); dear grandfather of Ashley Michta, John Michta, Matthew Davenport and Christopher Davenport; and great-grandfather of R.J. and Kaylee. Funeral services were held Aug. 10 and 11 at Nolan Funeral Home in Northport with the Rev. Bette Sohm officiating. In Bill’s memory, donations to Friends of the Farm Animal Sanctuary on Burt Avenue in Northport, NY 11768 (www.lewisoliverfarm.org) would be appreciated.

George W. Wild Jr.

George W. Wild Jr. of East Northport died on Aug. 11 at 88 years of age. Wild was the devoted husband of the late Marie; loving father of Cheryl Galasso (Chris), Lori Horvat (Doug) and the late Wayne; dear grandfather of Christopher, Danielle (James), Victoria and Sabrina; and fond great-grandfather of James. Services were held at Nolan Funeral Home on Aug. 14 and 15. A funeral Mass was celebrated Aug. 16 at St. Anthony of Padua Church in East Northport. Burial was held at St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Huntington. In George’s memory, donations to Memorial Sloan Kettering (www.mskcc.org) or Joslin Diabetes Center (www.joslin.org) would be appreciated.

Michael Schwarting presents the study's findings to village officials back in August. Photo by Kyle Barr

If Port Jefferson experiences another “100 year flood” sooner than a century, then at least it knows where the water is coming from.

Professionals from Port Jefferson-based Campani and Schwarting Architects attended the Aug. 19 village meeting showing map after map of where the problem areas for Port Jeff flooding are, and offered suggestions, some big and some small, of how to combat the issue of flooding.

Michael Schwarting said many of the issues are due to an excess of hardscape, both building roofs and roads, and a significant lack of permeable spaces, especially in areas where the depth of the water table is less than 11 feet below ground. Forty percent of village property is non-water-permeable.

“There’s a fair density of buildings that contribute to the groundwater conditions,” he said. “That contributes in bringing water from the watershed to the lowest point.”

In the three-square-mile village, with a population of just over 8,000, the vast majority of land sits within the Port Jefferson watershed area.

The village tapped the PJ-based architectural firm back in February to construct a water management and storm surge study. While the study still needs to be finalized, with map after map, the architect discussed numerous issues contributing to flooding. One such map described how there were numerous roads that sloped down toward Port Jefferson Harbor. Some roads house catch basins to collect the water before it reaches trouble points, some streets have too few or no catch basins while others had more than is likely necessary.

Last September, Port Jefferson was bowled over with water, with nearly 4 inches of rain collected in a short span of time. Buildings like the Port Jefferson firehouse and the venerable Theatre Three were drowned in 3 to 4 feet of water, causing thousands of dollars in damages in the case of the theater.

The architect said what is likely a major cause of this is due to piping systems that draw a lot of water to the end of Barnum Avenue and the driveway to the Port Jefferson high school. Schwarting added there are stories of when that pipe was being built, children used to walk to school along it, meaning the system sits close to the surface.

“All of these pipes, some coming from North Country Road to Main Street with a lot of catch basins are contributing to this one point at Barnum and high school,” he said.

Mayor Margot Garant said they have received a report from Bohemia-based engineering firm P.W. Grosser Consulting about the pipe running from that culvert to the outfall pipe behind village hall. That report said there was sediment buildup at a low point in the pipe, also showing the pipe had “a pinch and a jog” that leads down toward the harbor. 

In June, Port Jefferson Village presented its Waterfront Revitalization Plan to the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council, describing its intention to perform immediately needed maintenance of the storm drainage system and provide emergency equipment to deploy in a rain event to protect properties in the village in catastrophic flooding. 

At its July 15 meeting, the village voted unanimously to apply for grant funds not to exceed $1 million from the state Division of Planning’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program, Empire State Development and any other applicable state agencies. 

The architects point out numerous small projects that can be done around the village to aid in flood mitigation, mostly in increasing permeable surfaces around the village. This would include rain gardens and bioswales, a landscape element designed to concentrate or remove debris and pollution out of surface runoff water, permeable paving systems, tree trenches and bioretention planters, acting as plant bed medians with grooves cut in the curb allowing water to drain in and flow into local outlets.

Though the architectural firm also endorsed several major projects, such as “daylighting” Mill Creek and the firm’s own plan proposal, given to the village in 2013, to completely remake the Brookhaven Town parking lot and boat ramp, adding significantly more greenery and passive recreational space in what is now hardscape. 

Vilma Rodriguez and Bea Ruberto holds a photo of Sound Beach from the 1930 in front of the La Famiglia Pizzeria. Photo by Kyle Barr

Ninety years ago in 1929, New York City newspaper The Daily Mirror offered subscribers the opportunity to buy a 20- by 100-foot parcel of undeveloped land between Rocky Point and Miller Place. The cost to purchase a plot of land through the subscription was $89.50 in 1929, equivalent to $1,315 in 2019.

In the trees and rocks of Long Island’s North Shore, a hamlet slowly rose from the earth.

Sound Beach is a hamlet of only 1.6 square miles and around 7,612 people, according to the last census. Stuffed in between Rocky Point and Miller Place, one of the North Shore’s smallest hamlets barely scrapes along the ubiquitously driven Route 25A. For those who don’t know the area, the hamlet boundaries are often mistaken for that of its neighbors.

Rocky Point has a historical society. So does Miller Place, combined with bordering Mount Sinai. Now prominent members of the Sound Beach community feel that’s something that needs correcting. 

in 1929, The Daily Mirror offered subscribers the opportunity to buy a 20- by 100-foot parcel of undeveloped land between Rocky Point and Miller Place. Photo from Bea Ruberto

Mimi Hodges, a near lifelong resident, is just one of the several women who are looking at Sound Beach’s past. She said that ad in the newspaper didn’t attract your average vacationers looking to take a break from New York City. They were working-class individuals, all of whom were looking for a change of pace during the depression era of the 1930s. They came with very little, sometimes only tents for their families, but still managed to build a small but safe town. 

“Sound Beach is unique in that it was a place created specifically for the working class,” she said. “People who didn’t have a lot of money and wanted to get away from the city — from Brooklyn and Queens. They put up their tents, they put up their own little houses, and eventually, in 1930, the Sound Beach Property Owner’s Association was born.”

The Sound Beach history project, which is being spearheaded by the Sound Beach Civic Association, is hoping to bridge that gap. Engineered by community leaders and longtime residents, local women are already uncovering several old photographs that show a much different Sound Beach, full of dirt roads and dusty buildings.

“It’s like a little mystery,” said Sound Beach Civic Association President Bea Ruberto.

Vilma Rodriguez, another resident, said work comes in bits and pieces, but their group has been energized.

“Sound Beach had no roads, no streetlights,” she said referring to the olden days of the small hamlet. “It’s little bits of information, but it builds up.”

For many of its earliest decades, mail was sent and received through Scotty’s General Store on Echo Avenue or Moeller’s General Store on Sound Beach Boulevard. It wasn’t until June 1, 1946, the first post office opened in the hamlet. 

In the small shopping center off of New York Avenue, where La Famiglia Pizzeria currently resides, the locals used to go to M.B. Sweet Shop for lunch and candy. Next to it, instead of the Italian restaurant, was the Square Market Store. Local resident Florence McArdle attributed the local setting to a particular show.

“It was just like ‘Happy Days,’” she said. 

Back in the day, the building that now houses Bedrossian Real Estate on Northport Road once was a community house that hosted everything from dances to pingpong and knock hockey. In that time, lacking a church, McArdle, a resident from the 1930s, said local community members “would iron the tablecloth, flip it over and they would have Mass on Sundays in the bar, Boyles.”

Sound Beach once had its own police department, its own highway and sanitation department. People once gathered at the “pavilion” on the bluff, where kids could buy ice cream and hot dogs.

Local resident Stephanie Mcllvaine said she has been pouring through newsletters from the 1940s, which reveal just how much has changed in the 80 years since. She wrote that a May 1940 newsletter was the census results. John Mertz, the winter caretaker and “mayor,” found 61 families consisting of 185 people lived in Sound Beach year-round. There were four general stores, three gas stations, one restaurant, five general contractors, two masons, one electrician, two fire wardens and two deputy sheriffs. Many of the year-round residents were members of the fire department as well. 

Despite their deep dive into this local history, many things are still unknown. What locals call “The Square” was either called Journal Square or Moeller Square, though Ruberto did not know where Journal Square even came from. There was a Moeller of the general store fame, but she has had trouble getting in contact with the family. She learned there was a James Moeller who taught math at the Miller Place School District but learned from the board of education he passed in 2012. 

Barbara Russell, the Town of Brookhaven historian, said her office has only a few items and details in the way of Sound Beach, but she praised the women for taking on the task. She said with the enthusiasm the group is showing, they’re well on their way to creating walking tours or a historical society.

Many of the local women looking back at the hamlet’s history have a fondness for the way things were. They watched the area grow slowly, ever so slowly, from the working-class family’s retreat to what it is today. Back then, Sound Beach was the destination, and there was no need to drive out and plan visits to other parts of the island, they said.

“Most of us here, we thought we were growing up in a ‘garden of Eden,’” said Hodges. “It was just fantastic.”

For those looking to get involved in the history project or who are interested in donating old photos, contact Bea Ruberto at [email protected] or call 631-744-6952.

 

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Security footage of the man who allegedly robbed the Miller Place Chase Bank. Photo from SCPD

Police said they have arrested a man in connection with the robbery of the Miller Place Chase bank earlier this month.

Suffolk County Police arrested Raymond Peruggi, 29, in Mastic Beach Monday, Aug. 20 at around 8:55 p.m. Peruggi was described as undomiciled.

Peruggi was held overnight at the 7thprecinct and is scheduled to be arraigned in First District Court in Central Islip. He has been charged with 3rddegree robbery.

On Aug. 12, a man allegedly entered the Chase Bank, located at 385 Route 25A, at around 2:40 p.m. and displayed a note demanding cash to an employee. The teller complied with the suspect’s demands and gave him cash from the drawer. He then fled the bank on foot, west towards Miller Place road, police said.

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Bon Jovi and Journey tribute band Bon Journey belt out classic rock hits. Photo by Kyle Barr

Long Hair, ripped pants, t-shirts drenched in sweat. Like an event straight out of the 80’s, crowds gathered at Heritage Park in Mount Sinai Friday, Aug. 16 for the Free Family Fun Day and concert, featuring Bon Jovi and Journey tribute band Bon Journey. The event was sponsored by the Heritage Trust and Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai)

Celebrating its 20thyear, the park played host to yoga sessions, bounce castles, martial arts demonstrations, crafts and magic shows all throughout the afternoon and early evening. Later, with a field crowded with people, Bon Journey belted out renditions of classic Bon Jovi hits like “Livin’ on a Prayer” and “Wanted Dead or Alive” and Journey songs like “Don’t Stop Believin.’”

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The New Starbucks will be located at the corner of Route 25A and Hallock Landing Road. Photos by Kyle Barr

It’s official, Rocky Point will join the rest of the world in having a Starbucks within walking distance.

The New Starbucks will be located at the corner of Route 25A and Hallock Landing Road. Photos by Kyle Barr

Architects and lawyers for Starbucks presented to Town of Brookhaven Aug. 8 the intent to turn the KFC located at the corner of Route 25A and Hallock Landing Road, into a Starbucks. The applicants were granted amendments on two restrictive covenants on the property by the town board, one requiring the parcel to be a KFC, the other modifying landscaping buffers on the property.

Tulio Bertoli, the town’s planning commissioner, said the plans for the 0.554-acre parcel are consistent with the land use plan for the area originally designed in 2012.

Judith Veglucci, the project manager at Melville-based Catapano Engineering who presented project plans to the board, said the total footprint for the building is remaining the same, and the only changes will be exterior facade changes to turn it from a KFC into a Starbucks.

Richard DeBragga, Brookhaven town tax assessor, speaks to Sound Beach Civic about STAR rebate. Photo by Kyle Barr

Big changes have been made to the STAR rebate, and Richard DeBragga, Brookhaven town tax assessor, came to the Sound Beach Civic Association’s meeting Aug. 12 to explain what that means for North Shore residents.

The STAR rebate gives around 2.6 million homeowners in New York State the opportunity to get a rebate on their school taxes, which represent an average of 60 percent of a homeowner’s tax bill. Homeowners who qualify include those making under $500,000 annually and have their home as their primary residence. Those seniors, over 65 years of age, are able to get what is called the Enhanced STAR credit, and those must have an adjusted gross income below $86,300.

The state budget, approved back in April, made several changes to the program. Before, those that bought their homes starting Aug. 1, 2015, have been receiving checks in the mail instead of savings on their bills. 

In essence, the program now incentivizes a mail-in check instead of the usual savings in the school tax bill as has been normal since the program was implemented nearly 25 years ago. Now those making $250,000 and $500,000 a year will also receive checks. In addition, those enrolled in Enhanced STAR must enroll in an income verification program to verify they are making below the minimum. DeBragga said those who want to apply to have to verify their income every year through the program, unless they can sign a statement that they qualify so the program will automatically check it every year.

DeBragga said the state is incentivizing checks rather than the tax break, saying the state is only offering the 2 percent annual increase to those who receive checks.

Rebecca Kassay along with the crew from Aureate Visuals and local hired help in front of their 1991 Winnebago. Photo from Kassay

Baltimore, Maryland. So much has been said about the city, criticism that came from way beyond the city itself. But Rebecca Kassay, the co-owner of the Fox and Owl Inn in Port Jefferson, saw something incredible from the people living there. There was a community in the neighborhood of Cherry Hill growing fresh fruit and vegetables, teaching others to farm, giving access to fresh food for people who live several miles from the nearest supermarket. The program, called the Black Yield Institute, was making a difference in their community, and the Port Jeff resident said she knew it needed to be seen by the world.

Rebecca Kassay fist bumps a volunteer at Cherry Hill, Baltimore’s Black Yield Institute. Photo from Kassay

“What they’re doing there is just so incredible as far as combining uplifting the community — integrating culture and fun,” said Kassay. “It was amazing to experience it with my own eyes and be there while this incredible group said, ‘we’re going to create this garden, how can we help people become more aware of health issues and social issues?’”

The inn owner is out on the road, touring in a renovated 1991 Winnebago with her husband, Andrew, and their dog. Filming with a Setauket-based crew, she is trying to spread the news of just how many nonprofits and volunteer works are out there and how much good they do for their respective communities.

“What I really love is connecting people, not just with a cause they love to help, but more importantly, connecting them with the power within themselves,” she said.

The show, titled “Be the Change with Rebecca,” is finishing filming throughout the fall before transitioning to full post-production during the winter. The show expects to come out sometime in spring 2020 on Amazon Prime video.

Kassay, 30, who was born in St. James and later moved to Port Jefferson to open the Fox and Owl Inn with her husband, said the show is inspired by modern serialized documentaries, and takes a form much like a show she loved as a child, “Dirty Jobs,” hosted by Mike Rowe. In much the same way to that Discovery Channel hit, which had the host performing a variety of blue-collar jobs on screen along with the regular workers, Rebecca gets down and dirty with the volunteers, whether it’s driving in nails while building houses or digging in the dirt in a community garden.

“We’re collecting the stories of how they do the work and how they decided to come out,” she said. “Such as, here’s what it looks like when you volunteer at a community garden, here’s what it looks like when you volunteer to restore an oyster reef.”

By the end of their trip, they will have traveled as far east as Baiting Hollow on Long Island, as far south as Washington D.C. and as far west as Detroit, Michigan.

Kassay had the idea for this project nearly two years ago, working off her own background as a youth volunteer project manager at Avalon Park and Preserve. She reached out through local Facebook groups for a crew interested in taking on the project, and the Setauket-based Aureate Visuals production team answered the call.

The three filmmakers, Steve Glassner, Larry Bernardo and Marvin Tejada, have donated their time on a pro bono basis to help make the project possible. All three have worked on projects before, such as Mentally Apart, a feature film set to premier by the end of the year. All three met while in school at Five Towns College.

“It’s been a very, very fun experience, especially all the people we meet and the locals who worked on the crew with us,” said Glassner. “It’s been a real learning experience. We’re meeting people from all walks of life, and it’s amazing and incredible what they’re doing in their own communities.”

The project has taken in this spirit of volunteerism with the crew. The folks at Aureate Visuals, in keeping with the spirit of the show, have volunteered their time to the project. Several of the crew work day jobs, and so they are constantly travelling back and forth from Long Island to where the next shoot is taking place.

Rebecca Kassay, middle, works with a group of volunteers at an oyster farm. Photo from Kassay

Glassner added production has been smooth, and each shoot “felt like we were a family — no egos — it’s one giant collaboration.”

For the most part, the project is self-funded, though they have received significant pledges from the Port Jefferson Rotary Club and have financed $1,654 so far from backers on Indiegogo. Everything else is coming from the owners of the Fox and Owl Inn. Their minimum budget, according to their Indiegogo page, includes $3,000 for travel and lodging, $3,000 for local crew wages, $1,500 for per diem food, $500 for miscellaneous expenses and $800 in Indiegogo related fees.

As the family goes around in the renovated Winnebago, retrofitted with whitewashed cabinets and flooring to make it feel like home, she has become surer this was the right way to get the message across.

“Working with these young people when you connect them with a power within themselves, they just light up,” Kassay said. “The light in their eyes is something the greatest gift you can give someone, connecting them with that.”

The project still has investor space open, and the Indiegogo ends on Sunday, Aug. 18. People can visit https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/be-the-change-with-rebecca#/to donate.

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Joyce Bloom

Joyce Susan Bloom, of Coram, died Aug. 8. 

She was the beloved wife of Ronald Bloom; the loving mother of Michael (Jill) Forst, Jeffrey (Laura) Bloom and Faith (Christopher) Kit; the cherished grandmother of Christopher, Jessica, Josh, Jordan, Jamie, Kirsten, CJ, Katie, Justin and Sean; the adored sister of Wally (Judy) Siegel; and is survived by many other family members and friends.

Interment was held at New Montefiore Cemetery in Farmingdale. Arrangements were entrusted to Branch Funeral Home of Miller Place. An online guest book is available at www.branchfh.com.

Robyne McGough

Robyne McGough, a Port Jeff native and graduate of Port Jefferson high school, passed June 15. 

McGough had worked at the Port Jefferson to Bridgeport ferry company for several years and later worked as a paralegal in Port Jefferson Station.

She was the daughter of Maryanne and the late Thomas McGough; the loving sister of Richard, Sharon, Kelly, Timothy, Joseph and Joanne; the beloved aunt to Monica Treutle; the friend of Dorthy, Nikki and Colleen; loved niece to James and the late Helen Knox and Richard Knox.

Our love and prayers be with you always.

Doris M. LaTurno (Beaumont)

Doris M. LaTurno (Beaumont), 83, died in Naples, Florida, Feb. 20. She was predeceased by her
husband Joseph Peter LaTurno.

She grew up in a large family of 10 sisters and three brothers. She lived in Suffolk County until relocating with her husband to Florida in 2016. Doris is survived by her sons Walter Chad Beaumont and Gary Roy Beaumont; four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Her and her husband’s remains will be put to rest at Long Island National Cemetery in Farmingdale.

Joseph Peter LaTurno

Joseph Peter LaTurno, 91, died in Naples, Florida, Dec. 27, 2017.

Born in Mineola, he attended Hempstead High School. In the spring of 1944, when he was 18 years old, he enlisted in the Navy and served on LST 537/755 in the South Pacific until the spring of 1946. Between 1946 and 1950, he worked at Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corp., in Bethpage. With the outbreak of the Korean War, he returned to active duty and was assigned to the USS LSMR-527 as a radio operator. Following a one-year tour he returned to Grumman where he retired after 40 years.

For the next 25 or so years, he and his wife Doris enjoyed traveling and their lovely home in Lake Grove. They relocated to Florida in July 2016. Their remains will be put to rest at Long Island National Cemetery in Farmingdale.

Frank Ohman

Frank Ohman, former New York City Ballet soloist, founder and artistic director of the New York Dance Theatre and the Ohman School of Ballet on Long Island and internationally known dance professional died suddenly on July 22 at home in Centerport. He was 80 years old. 

Ohman began his critically acclaimed dance career with the San Francisco Ballet in 1959, moving quickly through the ranks while also serving in the U.S. Army Reserves. He joined the New York City Ballet in 1962, where he was a soloist for 22 years. During his distinguished performing career, Ohman studied professionally with icons of the American ballet world including George Balanchine, Lew and Harold Christensen, Ernest Belcher, David Lichine, André Eglevsky and John Taras. He appeared in leading and soloist roles in ballets of Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Frederic Ashton, Antony Tudor and Jacques d’Amboise among others. He partnered many of the world’s leading ballerinas including Maria Tallchief, Suzanne Farrell, Allegra Kent, Patricia McBride, Gelsey Kirkland, Kay Mazzo and Suki Schorer. Ohman performed with the New York City Ballet at the New York State Theater, Kennedy Center, Marinsky Theater, Bolshoi Theater, the White House and Jacob’s Pillow. 

With the blessing of his mentor George Balanchine, Frank Ohman established New York Dance Theatre Inc. in 1974 on Long Island to bring classical ballet to a broader audience. Five years later, the Ohman School of Ballet was founded as a training ground for young dancers, teaching the art of classical ballet in the style of Balanchine. Ohman’s commitment to the Balanchine legacy extended to his company’s annual production of “The Nutcracker,” Long Island’s largest and an annual tradition for families throughout the region. A prolific choreographer, Ohman created more than 200 original ballets, performed by his New York Dance Theatre, Boston Ballet, Edmonton Ballet, Syracuse Ballet (where he was director), the Cassandra Ballet of Toledo, the Long Island Philharmonic, the Long Island Lyric Opera, the School of American Ballet workshop performance and American Movie Classics, among others. Still actively teaching at his eponymous classical ballet school in Commack until his death, Ohman’s teaching career also included stints at prestigious programs including the School of American Ballet, the Boston Ballet, the St. Louis Ballet, the National Dance Institute and as guest Ballet Master at Ballet Philippines. 

Beyond his career as a dancer, choreographer and teacher, Ohman was a gifted fine artist whose paintings have been featured in art shows at libraries throughout Long Island and Queens. Ohman encouraged his students to be well-rounded students of the arts. In his 2014 memoir “Balanchine’s Dancing Cowboy,” Ohman wrote, “To be a great artist, one must care deeply and completely about something, and to work devotedly to contribute that artistry to the world.” Ohman is survived by his son, Johan (Soumala), and grandson, Luke, as well as his ballet family of students and colleagues who carry on his legacy. A private funeral service is being held for immediate family. A public memorial service is planned for late summer. Details to be announced at www.ohmanballet.org.

Rose Messina

Rose Messina of Hauppauge died on Aug. 10 at the age of 97. She was one of six children and is survived by two sisters Nellie and Lena, ages 93 and 94; six children, Linda D’Amico, Frank, Christopher, Mickey, Diane Cazzetta and Ramona Bisono; 21 grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren with three more on the way.

Born in Retsof and raised in Huntington, Messina attended Huntington High School. At 4 feet 9 inches, she was nicknamed “the peanut.” She was a four-year varsity letter winner in field hockey, basketball and softball and four-time outstanding female athlete at Huntington in grades 9 thru 12. Messina played semi-pro baseball, while working for Grumman during World War II. She gave up a baseball contract to marry Dominick Messina in 1946. She joined the Red Cross to help in the war effort in the 1940s. The family lived in Huntington and moved to Hauppauge in 1960.  Messina was a class mother to every one of her six children for over 20 years and an active lifetime columbiette member for 75 years. She was one of the original founders of the “Hauppauge Sideliners Club” and member for over 25 years, and also a member of the St. Thomas More church “Young at Heart” organization for over 30 years. She was a team mom, seamstress and cook for every sport her six children played from little league, football, wrestling, baseball, field hockey, eaglettes, cheerleading, volleyball, track, to dance and theater plays in the school.

As a seamstress, she made many of the costumes for the school’s musicals and plays, costumes that her children and grandchildren performed in. 

Messina started cooking for the Hauppauge wrestling team in 1969 and continued organizing dinners for many sport teams which evolved into an end-of-the-year awards banquet, a tradition still enjoyed by sport teams in Hauppauge today.

Messina was inducted into the Hauppauge Hall of Fame in 2011 as an honorary member and in 2018 with her entire family. Messina’s lifelong dream was to become a physical education teacher, which was fulfilled by seeing five of her children become teachers, two physical education, industrial arts and biology teachers and one an engineer.

Her compassion, beside for her entire family, was for the Hauppauge wrestling team. She spent 40 years supporting the team. 

Services were held at Moloney’s Hauppauge Funeral Home on Aug. 12 and 13 and a funeral Mass was celebrated at St. Thomas More R.C. Church in Hauppauge on Aug. 14. 

In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully asks that tax-deductible donations be made to the Rose Messina scholarship foundation. Please make checks payable to: The Hauppauge Wrestling Club, which is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and include “The Rose Messina scholarship foundation” in the memo. All money collected will be distributed to a Hauppauge wrestler and/or student in the upcoming years.

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Mayor: No money for state road paving projects in Port Jeff until 2025

Vanessa Taranto looks at letters she’s sent to officials over the years. Photo by Kyle Barr

For nearly six years, village resident Vanessa Taranto has sounded the drum to the New York State Department of Transportation for a sidewalk running along the north side of West Broadway from Setauket into Port Jefferson Village. 

DOT plans to build a sidewalk on the north side of West Broadway up toward Setauket. Photo by Kyle Barr

In letter after letter, she asked for a chance to take her children down the road without the anxiety of walking in the opposite direction of cars. In 2013, she received a letter from state DOT saying there were no accidents involving pedestrians on the road, and it would have been cost prohibitive. This, especially, had her laughing to herself.

“People are driving up the hill during the day sometimes with the sun in their eyes, and it’s dangerous,” Taranto said. “I wrote back to everyone, ‘Does the Village of Port Jefferson have to wait for someone to die before they build a sidewalk five blocks long?’”

To people like the Port Jefferson mayor and the DOT, she became known as the “sidewalk lady.” 

Now her wish could soon become a reality, and those looking to climb the hill of West Broadway into Setauket may soon find their path aided with a new sidewalk.

DOT confirmed the plans to construct a new sidewalk by late next year along the north side of West Broadway, a quarter-mile stretch compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act connecting existing sidewalk sections between Hoyt Lane and Bayview Terrace.

While this is good news for those along the state-owned stretch of road, of course, there is a catch — and it’s a big one.

While bids have already gone out for a sidewalk along the north side of West Broadway, otherwise known as Route 25A, a true repaving of the steep road from the village into Setauket is missing funds on the part of the state. Mayor Margot Garant told the public at the last board meeting Aug. 5 the state DOT does not have any more funds for road repaving in all of New York until 2025.

Though this does not preclude the village going in to patch holes, complete repaving — usually an expensive endeavor — might not be in the pipe for another six years.

“It means I could not put in a request to have West Broadway repaved,” Garant said, “[DOT] said the best they could do was to have the maintenance crew go out and patch on the south side of West Broadway going down the hill.”

The DOT did not confirm or deny the lack of funds for projects until 2025, and instead said they were looking for other options for dealing with Route 25A.

“Route 25A (Main Street) was resurfaced three years ago between the ferry terminal and NYS Route 112 and we are exploring options for additional paving on Route 25A in the near future,” DOT spokesman Stephen Canzoneri said in an email. “We are in the process of scheduling a follow-up meeting with the mayor’s team to discuss these projects.”

Garant said she learned this in a meeting with DOT officials several weeks ago along with other village officials including Steve Gallagher, superintendent of the village Department of Public Works.

West Broadway is a steep hill climbing up toward Setauket, and several parts of that street are pockmarked with wide and deep potholes. Route 25A, which is otherwise known as Main Street before turning into West Broadway, travels all the way from Calverton into Queens at Long Island City. Taranto called the state of the road “a nightmare.”

Garant said while the village could ask the state for permission to go in and patch the worst parts of the road, the village Department of Public Works would not be keen on spending time and money on a road that should be handled by the state.

“If we’re going to do this, we should do it right and make it one continuous walkable community.”

— Margot Garant

Though repaving on West Broadway has been stymied, the north facing sidewalk is still in the pipe. One plan for the new sidewalk goes all the way down the north side of West Broadway until Beach Street, but the other would be pushed back to start after Bayview Terrace. Garant was adamant it should start by the bottom of the hill.

“If we’re going to do this, we should do it right and make it one continuous walkable community,” the mayor said. 

The mayor said the village will be having a follow-up meeting Aug. 27 with the DOT. 

The final decision comes down to DOT officials. Meg Danielson, a transportation analyst for the state DOT who will be meeting with village officials later this month, did not respond to requests for comment. 

Meanwhile, Port Jeff is gathering funds to repave several village-owned roads, including: Pine Tree Court, Nadia Court, Contessa Court, Roslyn Court, Peninsula Drive and Landing Lane at a total cost $349,404. Paving is being done by Rosemar Contracting Inc. of East Moriches. Previous quotes for repaving had come in at just under $500,000, according to village officials.

“Their quote was so wonderful that we added another street,” Garant said at the Aug. 5 board meeting. “That’s not to say there’s other streets in the village that need to be done.”

And despite the state of West Broadway, Taranto is looking forward to a chance to bring her children down into Port. For one of her daughters, Roxanne, who is on the autism spectrum, it’s an important opportunity to allow her some degree of independence as she grows toward high school.

It wasn’t just for her, Taranto said, nor her other daughter Maggie, but for the other 12 children — 11 girls and one boy — living on her block along Longacre Court, who she said have developed into a close-knit community. 

“If I can do this for all of those kids to keep them safe, that’s really my goal,” Taranto said.