Authors Posts by Kimberly Brown

Kimberly Brown

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Town of Smithtown councilmembers Tom McCarthy (R) and Lynne Nowick (R)

Town of Smithtown councilmembers, Lynne Nowick (R) and Tom McCarthy (R), gathered on Friday with TBR News Media to discuss their running for reelection to the Town Board. Neither Democratic candidate, Dylan Rice or Marc Etts, accepted TBR’s invitation to join the debate.

Nowick is a lifelong resident of St. James and was a Suffolk County legislator in the 13th District for 12 years from 2002 until she was term limited. In January of 2014, she was elected to the Smithtown Town Board. 

Before becoming a county legislator and councilwoman, she was Smithtown tax receiver for six years and worked in the court system for county court judge, Alfred Tisch (R). Explaining her love for her family and town, she has full confidence in making Smithtown a place where residents can have a quality of life. 

Tom McCarthy

Having a plethora of experience in what it’s like to be a Long Island resident, Nowick believes she has a pulse on the community and knows what residents need. 

“When you’ve been a part of a town for so long, I think you know what people want,” she said. “I ran for the council not only because I love my town, but because I’m a doer and I like to work.”

McCarthy is also a native Long Islander and businessman, who has lived in Suffolk County for 30 years and in Smithtown for 15 years. He has worked in the automobile and marine industries before retiring in 2008.

He started his political career in 1997 when he noticed the town wasn’t resident-orientated and wanted to make changes for the better. McCarthy also serves as deputy town supervisor.

“It’s just a great town, it’s a great place to live and raise a family,” he said. “There was nothing out here when I was born and raised, but my grandparents found it because of Lake Ronkonkoma and would come out to the Island every weekend.” 

The candidates spoke on their concerns with apartments, businesses during COVID-19 and the future of sewering the business districts. 

Sewering

Nowick said installing the sewer system in Kings Park is well on its way, and plans to use the potential Kings Park sewer system for the Town of Smithtown as well. 

“We have signed requests to our Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) because we want her to be aware of how important this is,” Nowick said. “We know what we want, we just need the money.”

If the process of installing a sewering system in Kings Park, which would be placed near Kings Park Psychiatric Center, is successful, only two of the approximately 15 acres will be used for the project. The rest of the acreage will be preserved.

“We have three different options to go with the Lake Avenue mains,” McCarthy said. “One is a possible connection to Gyrodyne. Another possible connection is a piece of property we’ve looked at in Nesconset. The other possible connection is going down on 25A and picking up the pipe that goes farther west.”

Although the town cannot build a plant yet, the municipality is preparing for it.  

COVID-19 and local businesses

Concerned for small businesses falling into a deeper pit of debt since the pandemic began, Nowick said there should be more programs and grants to aid them back to recovery.

Lynne Nowick

“They’re hurting, there’s got to be more out there in the way of grant money,” she said. “I think it is incumbent upon us to try to the best of our ability to get the word out by making calls to our federal and state elected officials.”

Although introducing new businesses is important to the town, she said it’s important to protect the small businesses that have already been operating before the pandemic. 

McCarthy noted that many of the small businesses got assistance from the government too late, and needed more help from the federal government while the pandemic was occurring.

“What we’re going to do going forward is that we are currently working on writing the code so the outdoor dining can continue during the winter,” he said.

Trying to make the process as easy as possible for businesses to apply for outdoor dining by signing a single sheet and having a fire marshal come to inspect the area, McCarthy plans to continue the ease of this process into the near future. 

Budget

According to Nowick, sewers and quality of life are on the top of her budget list. Redeveloping and renovating 75 percent of the parks in Smithtown has been one of her many accomplishments.

“If you know this town, you know people want their parks and their beaches,” she said.

Having invested a substantial amount of money in the Daniel J. Flynn Memorial Park in Commack, by turning it into a park that is a state-of-the-art facility has helped create a small economic engine for the town.

“I believe in investing in quality of life, whether its parks or beaches or downtown,” she said.

Agreeing with Nowick, McCarthy said he’d like to see the budget spent on projects that will enhance residents’ lives in the town such as funding the highway department, which keeps Smithtown’s roads snow-free during the cold winter months.

“We’ve gone on a lease purchase now instead of buying the equipment, and letting it get old and then spending millions of dollars in repairs,” McCarthy said. “Now we keep getting new equipment and are even selling equipment right now because on a lease basis we can sell at any point, so we are actually getting more money than we paid for it.”  

Apartments

After speaking with the new apartment tenants located in Smithtown, McCarthy said he believes a majority of them have moved to the area within 10 miles of their original home. 

He said most of the apartments are adjacent to the railroads, so young people can use the train to go to work in Manhattan.

“The city will come back,” he said. “It’s just going to take a substantial amount of time, probably more than a decade before it comes back based on the way it is right now. But more and more people will go back to the city and you have to be prepared for that.”

Adding that the apartments are necessary for the town, Nowick also pointed out that many single parents and people who have been divorced find refuge in the complexes and also bring in business to local shops.

“The young people, unfortunately, have to share with a roommate but at least we give them an opportunity if they want to stay by their family,” she said. “The apartments aren’t affordable, but if young people want to stay here they can’t afford [to buy] houses.”

By Kimberly Brown

Stony Brook University celebrated the inauguration of Maurie McInnis as the university’s sixth president on Saturday, Oct. 23, at the Island Federal Arena, Stony Brook. 

Standing before students, alumni, local officials and representatives from universities across the country as well as family and friends, McInnis was proudly given her title as president. 

Transporting the crowd back to 1962, when Stony Brook University was merely a handful of buildings that has sprouted out of a field where potatoes were farmed, McInnis said the 800 students who first began their journey at the university would know that big plans were in the works. 

“Out of these potato fields and muddy woods on Long Island, an educational powerhouse would soon emerge, and in less than a decade our university grew ten-fold to 8,000 students and ambitiously recruited the faculty and staff that would come to define this institution,” McInnis said.

Nobel Prize-winning physicist Chen Ning Yang came to Stony Brook in 1965 and became the university’s first director of the Institute of Theoretical Physics. To which McInnis said he must have sensed the university was making big moves and breaking new ground in areas of science.

“Looking around the arena today, I see that same bold spirit that attracted Yang and legions of other distinguished faculty,” she said. “Thank you for joining me as we celebrate the luminous and ambitious future of Stony Brook University.” 

McInnis thanked the crowd for trusting her to lead the institution.

Also touching on her own family’s heritage, which is rich in careers of education, she mentioned her great-grandparents and grandparents were both teachers. Her parents were also college professors and her husband is a first-generation college graduate.

“I have dedicated my life’s work to this enterprise and I am thrilled and honored to apply my knowledge, experience and energy to Stony Brook University,” she said. “What I have learned is that our institution yesterday, today and tomorrow is a university of dreaming big, of expanding the reach of discovery and creating knowledge for the benefit of society.”

In 1973, the university welcomed Rich Gelfond, who came from a disadvantaged household in Plainview.

Stepping foot onto the campus for the first time as a college student, Gelfond went full force in his academics by working on the school newspaper, designing his own curriculum, winning an election to be the first student on the university council as well as guest teaching at his own sports sociology class.

“He was delivering on his potential, and then some, because he had found a university that valued the promise of first-generation college students,” she said. “He had found a university that wanted to empower its students to be their best.”

McInnis said after college, Gelfond went on to be a successful investment banker, acquiring IMAX Corporation in 1994 where he remains CEO today. 

Touching on the topic of COVID-19, McInnis said she is proud of the way Stony Brook University has succeeded in the past year and a half by providing superior patient care and extending its reach across Long Island to care for new communities.

“The power of a public research university is that it has the ability and the duty to benefit the community around it, as well as foster the groundbreaking discoveries that can impact the world for generations to come,” she said.

As the university’s newest president, McInnis wants to ensure that Stony Brook is leading the way, serving the community and tackling the global challenges that face us in the coming century.

“I look forward to seeing all that we can achieve,” she said. “The moment is upon us. Seawolves, let’s answer this call to greatness.”

As chief executive for Stony Brook, McInnis also oversees Stony Brook Medicine, Long Island’s premier academic medical center, which encompasses five health sciences schools, four hospitals and 200 community-based health care settings. 

Incumbent Brookhaven Town Clerk Donna Lent is running against Democrat Ira Costell. Lent photo from Town of Brookhaven, Costell photo from Costell

TBR News spoke with Town Clerk Donna Lent (R) and Ira Costell (D) over Zoom on Monday. They will be running against each other as the election for town clerk for the Town of Brookhaven approaches quickly. 

Lent, who is serving her second term as town clerk, has managed day-to-day operations such as issuing death certificates and handicap parking permits, while land-use applications are filed within the office. 

There are three divisions — licensing, registrar and administrative units — in her department alone, and on some days, Lent says up to 200 people will come into the office.

After extensive training, Lent was certified as a registered municipal clerk by the New York State Town Clerks Association in 2017, but before entering public service, she worked as a law office manager and was a small business owner.

Her opponent, Costell, has taken leadership roles in environmental causes such as the Suffolk County Watershed Protection Advisory Committee and served as chair of the county’s Pine Barrens Review Commission. 

He has been passionate about the fight against opioid addiction and prescription drug abuse. Costell is a New York State-certified addiction and recovery coach and has been involved in various recovery committees.

The two opponents came to TBR News Media’s offices to debate their opinions on whose ideas would be best suitable for the town clerk’s position.

The concern of making Freedom of Information Law appeals more accessible to the public is something that Costell said he will actively work on if elected. His main argument is that residents of Brookhaven have been left in the dark when it comes to requesting information from the Town Clerk’s Office.

However, Lent said if materials or records are not able to be provided, there is a reason as to why not. 

“They probably haven’t asked for the records correctly, we are not required to create records for them, we only have to provide what is already existing,” she said. “Sometimes people don’t search thoroughly because there was an aspect of something they weren’t unaware of that we were able to shed light on.”

Rebutting Lent’s argument, Costell said he had very serious questions about the FOIL process as there were nearly 14,000 requests last year in the town’s Law Department.

“I would like to work as part of that process for an audit to figure out how we can streamline that process,” he said.

Costell feels the information on the town’s website is not readily available to residents. 

“When initiating a public hearing notice on the town’s website, the information about the hearing is not connected to the notice, so residents don’t always know about the particulars of what’s being proposed in the public hearing,” he said.

Lent said the Town Clerk’s Office does the public hearing notices, which are readily available on the website as soon as they go up. However, the town clerk does not make the determination on what needs to get posted because the notice is from what the Law Department already drafted. 

“It is incumbent upon the clerk in my belief, to coordinate and collaborate, not to just handle a piece of paper and move it on to the next level,” Costell said.

In regards to communicating with the Town of Brookhaven, he said the software the office is using should be able to have direct sign-ups for people who are interested in a particular issue so people from various areas do not have to rely on someone from a different town to tell them there’s a hearing related to something they are interested in.

However, Lent said there is a sign-up system within civic clerks for alerts and areas of topic. She noted that residents can call her office to be added to get notifications as well. 

Costell believes that the Town Clerk’s Office should have more outreach to the public on a quarterly basis by using town facilities such as senior centers and recreational programs, to help residents navigate the online services or to assist communities that don’t have access to broadband. 

“We have been improving that process, that’s why we changed our software system last February,” Lent said. “There has been a period of adjustment for residents that were accustomed to finding documents within the old system, but if you use the search bar at the top it will take you to whatever you are looking for.”

Disagreeing with Lent, Costell said he thinks the website is hard to navigate and should have the option to be translated to Spanish.

Lent feels her opponent will be biting off more than he can chew if elected as town clerk. “Everyone has hopes dreams and aspirations of what a job may be like, but it’s not until you get into the job that you have to face the reality of day-to-day operations and restrictions,” Lent said.

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David, Raymond and Jason Lin, above, are now helping their father Bao Lin run Eastern Pavilion. Photo by Kimberly Brown

Serving customers for almost three decades, Eastern Pavilion is making a comeback as a fine-dining Asian Fusion restaurant.

The family run restaurant has become a place of refuge, relaxation and dining for residents. As soon as customers walk in, they will see the newly renovated restaurant that co-owner David Lin describes as elegant with a “Manhattan vibe.”

Before the pandemic started, founder Bao Lin had thought about retiring. However, he decided not to when his three sons, David, Raymond and Jason, decided to take on the responsibility of running the business with the goal of making it bigger and better than ever before.

“We grew up in the restaurant industry and wanted to keep the family business alive,” David Lin said. “We realized how happy the restaurant made us and we loved interacting with the customers.”

Having a loyal clientele base that has continued to designate Eastern Pavilion as its favorite restaurant, David said he can pick up the phone and know customers without even asking for a name.

“A lot of the clients that we have, we honestly consider a part of our family,” David Lin said. “We have customers that started with us 30 years ago, so that makes us want to push through and have this restaurant here for the next generation.”

It isn’t only the family hospitality that customers love about this restaurant, but the quality of the food, too. According to David Lin, the restaurant has a new master sushi chef who trained in Tokyo and introduced a Szechuan chef as well, so there is plenty of variety for anyone looking to grab a bite.

An additional bar has also been added to the restaurant, where Jason Lin highly recommends Eastern Pavilion’s signature drink, which combines cold sake, premium Japanese yuzu, vodka, peach syrup, seltzer and their secret ingredient, a special tea from overseas.

Comparing the cocktail to a Starbucks refresher, Jason Lin said this is the perfect summer pick-me-up.

“At the end of the day, it’s all about making my customers and the community happy,” Jason Lin said. “Especially after the COVID-era, we wanted to take advantage of the opportunity and spend our time revamping this place.”

Another must-have dish both Jason and David Lin recommend for first-time customers is their General Tso’s chicken, which they describe as the “bread and butter” of Eastern Pavilion.

The dish includes deep-fried, battered white-meat chicken cubes sautéed with spicy red peppers. To top it off is their in-house special tangy sauce. According to Jason Lin, this sauce has been perfected through trial and error for many decades and is very unique.

 

For more information on Eastern Pavilion, go to www.eprestaurant.com or visit the restaurant at 750 Route 25A, Setauket.

Photo by Kimberly Brown

Middle Country Central School District honored 9/11 with a performance by their fifth grade class, who sign languaged to the song “God Bless America.”

Music teacher Rebecca Schaarschmidt overcame the digital divide that was created due to digital learning. The students have been practicing their sign language since the end of last year and were very excited to perform for their peers in the first, second, third and fourth grade on Friday, Sept. 10 at Oxhead Road School.

“It took them about three or four practices to really get it down,” Schaarschmidt said. “Then we picked it up again when school started, and really only had two days to pull the whole thing together.”

Making sure that all fifth graders were able to participate, Schaarschmidt combined students who were in person last year as well as the students who attended school virtually. She was able to teach the sign language both virtually and in-person. 

“The students were very restricted last year, we had to be six-feet a part in order to sing together and we just didn’t have the space for that,” she said. “So, I was trying to think of a creative way to have the students be able to make music without using their voices which is why I decided to go ahead and teach them the sign language.”

Growing up in the Middle Country School District herself, Schaarschmidt remembers performing a 9/11 memorial with her choir during high school every year. Wanting to translate that tradition into the elementary school, she decided to teach the fifth graders how to perform.

“I think learning about 9/11 in schools is really important because it’s a part of our history,” she said. “These kids were not alive when it happened, so I wanted them to know what happened on that day and who the heroes were as well as who was able to help protect our country.”

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Photo by Kimberly Brown

To commemorate the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and give remembrance to those whose lives were taken by the tragic events, Rocky Point High School welcomed veterans and survivors of the attack to speak to the senior class early Tuesday morning.

Students and teachers filled the auditorium as members from the Rocky Point VFW and Suffolk County Police Department were brought in to share their stories. 

The students they spoke to were not alive when 9/11 happened, which is why Social Studies teacher Rich Acritelli, who led the event, believed having an assembly on the matter was dire. 

“The big thing with this assembly is so we don’t forget,” Acritelli said. “It’s that there’s always that sense of respect towards the people that were lost and for the family members.”

Photo by Kimberly Brown

Guest speaker ESU officer Owen McCaffrey reflected on what it meant to be an American, and how helpful people were to each other during that tragic time. 

“Everyone was an American citizen,” McCaffrey said. “It didn’t matter what you looked like, the color of your skin or how you were dressed — everyone was working together because we were all American citizens.”

Suffolk County Acting Police Commissioner, Stuart Cameron recalled what it was like for the SCPD after the attacks had taken place, noting that the New York City Police Department even reached out to them for help. 

The SCPD sent out hundreds of officers to Ground Zero. 

“The most difficult aspect was that my phone was ringing off the hook with members of our department volunteering to go help their brother officers in New York City,” Cameron said.

Unfortunately, many of the officers who volunteered to help later passed due to medical complications, mostly being cancer related. 

“9/11 is not one day,” Cameron said. “It’s the days, weeks and months after it. You know the saying, ‘it’s the gift that keeps on giving,’ well 9/11 is the event that keeps on taking. It truly has taken away some of our greatest heroes.”

Photo by Kimberly Brown

Another guest speaker, Phil Alverez, whose brother, former NYPD detective, Luis Alverez passed from complications of cancer from working on Ground Zero. 

Phil said Luis wasn’t interested in people knowing his name, rather, he wanted people to know the message, which was to get victims and first responders assistance for the damaging health effects Ground Zero caused. 

“I was fortunate to have Luis around 15 years after the attacks, even though he was dealing with stage four cancer,” he said. “I got to hold him and hug him and tell him that I love him, and at the end of his life, I got to say goodbye to him — 3,000 families that day didn’t.”

Joe Cognitore with members of the Rocky Point VFW Post 6249. Photo from Joe Cognitore

 Commemorating the 20th anniversary of 9/11 has had a big impact on Joseph Cognitore, a Rocky Point resident who is  commander of the local VFW Post 6249. 

On the day of 9/11, he was working at the Coca-Cola distribution center in Hauppauge when he and his co-workers heard two planes had hit the World Trade Center towers. 

At first thought, he figured it was something similar to the Empire State Building accident in 1945 — when a B-52 bomber crashed into the building in thick fog.

As the September 2001 morning progressed, TV announcers said loud and clear that this was an attack on America. Feelings of anxiety, frustration and pent-up emotion overcame Cognitore, bringing back his memories of Vietnam.

“I vividly remember the quiet and serenity of all the people just milling around, not knowing what to do,” he said. “The whole area was quiet and full of blank stares and disbelief.”

Some of Cognitore’s high school friends who worked in the World Trade Center, as well as fire department personnel, perished in the attacks. 

One of his friends with whom he graduated and played ball with, Peter Ganci, held the rank of chief of department for the New York City Fire Department and was last seen on the day of 9/11. 

“I didn’t know it at the time, but later that day I found out he had passed,” Cognitore said. “When the towers fell he was with Mayor Rudy Giuliani. He told the mayor to go one way, but he wanted to go back with his men the other way, and that’s when he perished.”

As a veteran who works on legislative committees for the VFW on state and national levels, Cognitore has been pleading with U.S. Congress to pass the defense budget. However, he said the budget never gets passed or is pushed to the side.

“We need to get better security and better defenses, and I’m not confident that’s happening,” he said.

Despite this obstacle, Cognitore believes it’s extremely important for younger generations to learn the history of 9/11. Every year he makes an appearance at Rocky Point High School, along with other guests, to discuss the tragic day as well as honor servicemen.

“I know when I was in high school and went to assemblies we laughed and giggled and didn’t pay too much attention to what was going on,” he said. “The assembly they do at Rocky Point High School you can hear a pin drop. I mean the tension is there.”

When the commander was a child, his grandfather would take him to various monuments around Long Island to pay respects to America’s fallen heroes, and said this memory has stuck with him his whole life.

“I always remember going with my grandfather to monuments and it had such an impact on me as a child,” Cognitore said. “I think what my grandfather did with me should still carry over to other generations because it taught me about respect.”

Photographer Bolivar Arellano was on the scene when the World Trade Center’s south tower was imploding. Photo by Bolivar Arellano

When 9/11 happened, I was only three years old, and at such a young age, I had no idea what was going on in the world — the only thing that mattered to me was my stuffed animals and food. 

As I grew up in elementary school, I was always reminded every September about the attacks with an assembly my district put together. 

We always were given little American flags to place outside the front yard after the presentation was over. 

I was born in a time where it was no longer safe to walk around by myself like it used to be. I remember my mom telling me about her time as a young child, and how she’d walk all around the neighborhood with her close friend Sue Hill from morning until dusk, no cellphone, no contact, relying on complete trust in her community and town. 

Kimberly Brown

However, when 9/11 happened, that trust broke completely. I asked her why I wasn’t allowed to do the things she did as a kid, and she told me that “times have changed.”

I didn’t always see the big picture as to why things were the way they are, because it’s the environment that I grew up in. It’s something that I’ve been accustomed to since I was born, but as I grew older and moved onto middle school I started to understand more.

I’m not sure exactly what age I was when I found out why my next-door neighbors, Timmy, and his brother Tommy weren’t around anymore, but I remember they were dedicated to their jobs as firefighters and were always very friendly to me and my family.

My mom had told me that Timmy rushed into the North Tower while Tommy, who was a Battalion Chief, led his men into the South Tower. Both of them tragically died whilst trying to evacuate 25,000 people from the World Trade Center.

When Timmy was younger, he planted pine trees next to our house that continued to grow for decades after his death. To me, it served as a memorial, remembering how free-spirited yet brave these two brothers were.

To some people around the country, 9/11 is a distant memory, but for me, it has been prevalent in my community since the day it occurred. Neighbors, friends and family members, all have people they hold dear to their hearts, serve in our local fire and police departments. 

In one way or another, regardless of age, 9/11 has touched everyone in some form. It truly is one of the most important events of our American history to remember, as well as commemorating our brave service members who gave their lives to save others. 

Kimberly Brown is a reporter with TBR News Media and a recent graduate of Stony Brook University.

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Frank Tepedino

On the 20th anniversary of 9/11, former New York Yankee and St. James resident Frank Tepedino recalled his experience during that fateful day.

At the time, Tepedino, who also played for the Atlanta Braves during his sports career, served as a firefighter for the New York Fire Patrol for almost 20 years. It just so happened he was off patrol on the morning of 9/11, residing in his home on Long Island.

His son, who worked for the New York City Fire Department, informed Tepedino of the attacks around 8:45 in the morning.

“At first, I thought a pilot had a heart attack or something and I thought how unusual it was,” Tepedino said. “Everything started to click once the second plane hit.”

Tepedino was called into work immediately after the attacks due to the World Trade Center being a commercial building, which is what the FDNY responds to specifically.

Jumping into his vehicle around noon, he remembered all the roads being closed off making it especially difficult to get near the city. By the time Tepedino made his way to the atrocity at nightfall, he couldn’t believe what his eyes were seeing.

“I remember when they were filming ‘Godzilla’ in the city and seeing all the spotlights,” Tepedino said. “When I got to the World Trade Center it looked just like that, like a movie set. It didn’t look real. There were spotlights everywhere because the power was out.”

Being stationed in Manhattan for 20 years, Tepedino became very acquainted with the FDNY. They were only 15 minutes away from the station and often spent time together at softball games and other functions.

From the FDNY alone, 343 members died from the terrorist attacks on 9/11. Another victim was NYFP firefighter Keith Roma who was only 27 years old. Tepedino said they did not find Roma’s remains until December 2001.

“We were there for a good two, three weeks working 12-hour shifts,” Tepedino said. “Everything was coordinated very specifically considering something like this had never happened before.”

One of the jobs Tepedino had following the aftermath of 9/11 was to sweep the debris and clearing the manhole covers so the scuba team could go under the buildings to look for more survivors.

“As time goes by, things are put on the back burner, but you have to look at the history of what has happened because what we’re trying to do is protect the people who cannot protect themselves,” Tepedino said.

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SPAC will hold a benefit to raise funds to save the theater. Photo by Kimberly Brown

The Smithtown Performing Arts Center is in need of being saved.

Local elected officials and community leaders gathered at the theater Sept. 8 asking for local residents to help pitch in money to save the building. The owner of the building, Ken Washington, put it up for sale last month.

State Sen. Mario Mattera, left, joined other local elected officials and community members to talk about the importance of the Smithtown Performing Arts Center in the town. Photo by Kimberly Brown

Not only is the SPAC a place for entertainment, as well as education, but it also serves as a sentimental piece of history to the community. The theater itself was built in 1933 and aged well into its years making it 90 years old. It has become a well-known staple and has brought in families from all over the Island.

“This is like the hub of our downtown revitalization,” said state Sen. Mario Mattera (R-St. James). “This is history. This is history we need to make sure is secured and that will still be here for our families — our young, our middle-aged and our seniors.”

Mattera also pointed out that the educational acting programs for 17 and 18 year olds are extremely vital in this day and age. He said coming to the Smithtown Performing Arts Center is one of the few ways to get young people off their phones and learn about art and history. 

“The only way the surrounding businesses will survive is if this theater remains a hub,” said Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim (R). “If it does not, and it’s sold for other purposes, you will see millions of dollars in expendable income leave Smithtown and go to other places such as Patchogue, Babylon or Northport.”

Currently, a GoFundMe is set up for community members to donate to. The goal is to reach $400,000, with $6,300 raised as of Sept. 8. The board members of the Smithtown Performing Arts Center are very confident they can reach their goal as long as donations are placed and fundraisers are successful.

The Smithtown Performing Arts Council made an offer of $1.3 Million to purchase the historic theater at the time the property was listed, but are currently awaiting a decision on the matter.

With the support of the Smithtown Performing Arts Council, a nonprofit organization, a benefit performance with some of Long Island’s most talented artists will be held on Sept. 18 at 6:30 p.m. All are welcome to come and donate to the cause.

To donate to save Smithtown Performing Arts Center, visit www.gofund.me/93a0c9fe.