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Gallery North, 90 North Country Road, Setauket will present its annual Wet Paint Festival from June 5 to June 13. 

Now in its 17th year, this annual, outdoor event is a celebration of plein air painting. The Wet Paint Festival provides the community with the unique opportunity to observe some of Long Island’s top plein air painters as they capture the area’s historic and natural beauty. Like last year, Gallery North will slightly modify plans for the festival. In an effort to maintain both the goals of the event and continued social distancing guidelines, the Gallery invites participating artists to create works in public or in solitude during the week of the festival. 

Gallery staff will also visit featured locations to arrange a few, optional recorded “virtual visits.” Participating artists will have the option (not required) to work with staff to record a discussion of their process or an informal interview. These “virtual visits” will then be posted on social media and on Gallery North’s website to both promote the event and to allow the public to understand and experience the process of plein air painting.

All participating artists will be featured in a pop-up exhibition at the Studio at Gallery North on June 18 from 3 to 7 p.m. The public is invited to attend the exhibition in person in small groups. Artists will be on hand from 5 to 7 p.m outside the Studio in Gallery North’s courtyard, to discuss their work, their experiences, and their approach, answering questions from the public.

Registration is required for the artists participating in the festival. The exhibition will be free and open to the public. For more information visit www.gallerynorth.org.

Splish Splash Waterpark

The longest offseason in the 31-year history of Splish Splash Waterpark in Calverton will come to an end on Saturday, May 29, as the park reopens its gates to guests for the first time since Labor Day 2019, a 627-day closure caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Splish Splash’s 30th season may begin a year later than initially planned, but with no shortage of excitement for the return of summer fun to Long Island. The first step in this comeback campaign: hiring roughly 1,000 seasonal staffers to provide a clean, safe and fun experience for Splish Splash visitors.

“We’re so excited to get back to the business of fun here at Splish Splash,” said General Manager Mike Bengtson. “Creating opportunities for people to get back to work is an important step in the recovery process, and we will keep safety as our top priority for staff and applicants throughout the recruitment, orientation and training process.”

Safety will be at the forefront of all activity during the current recruiting period and as the water park prepares to open and welcomes guests back this summer. Splish SplashWaterpark will follow recommendations and rulings from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, New York Department of Health, and best practices within the amusement and attractions industries. Recruiters will conduct interviews virtually, and orientation and training will also be virtual for most positions.  Any in person trainings will require facial coverings, strict adherence to state capacity limitations, and social distancing.

Splish Splash recruiters are looking to fill roughly 1,000 openings in departments including Lifeguards, Food & Beverage, Facilities, Retail and Sales. The flexible positions offer part-time and full-time opportunities to high school and college students, professionals looking for a change of pace, and retirees interested in supplementing their income and staying active. Most seasonal positions are available to applicants age 16 and older, with job perks including free admission, team-building celebrations, discounts on park food and merchandise, flexible scheduling, and more. For more information and to apply online, visit the Employment page of Splish Splash Waterpark<https://www.splishsplash.com/employment>.

As a special thank you to its customers, Splish Splash has extended 2020 Season Passes to include the 2021 Season. For more information, call 631-727-3600.

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Splish Splash Waterpark has 96 acres of family fun slides and attractions. Splish Splash is owned and operated by Palace Entertainment, one of the leading leisure park operators in the United States. Palace Entertainment operates 25 entertainment and educational venues across 10 different states, offering a wide range of family-friendly rides, attractions and educational experiences. Palace Entertainment is part of Parques Reunidos, one of the leading global operators, with more than 60 different assets (theme parks, zoos and marine parks, water parks and other attractions), spread out over various countries across Europe, North America, the Middle East, and Australia.

 

File photo by Kyle Barr

Comsewogue Public Library’s 2021-2022 operating budget passed April 6, and Chris McCrary was re-elected as trustee. 

Director Debbie Engelhardt expressed a message of thanks to the community for their support both on the library’s website and in an upcoming Letter from the Director to be featured in the library’s next newsletter.

According to Engelhardt’s update, “The Library is now fine-free, with wonderful spring happenings underway and a delightful summer in store.”

While masks and physical distancing are still enforced for everyone’s safety at the library, there are no longer time limits for in-person visits and places to sit and read, study, work or chat have been restored.  

“We’re thrilled to welcome everyone back to the Library to relax, learn and grow in a comfortable and safe community setting,” she added.

In addition to the many online services and programs offered for adults, teens and children throughout the pandemic, including “Take and Make” programs, Comsewogue Pubic Library is beginning to offer outdoor programs and some indoor programs as part of its new hybrid service program.

“I’m so pleased with the staff’s latest community-centered initiatives — The Little Free Pantry and The Seed Library are examples — each of which can help ensure folks get enough to eat,” Engelhardt said. 

The library is also offering low and no-cost resources to help people find what they need to solve problems and achieve their personal and professional goals, including LinkedIn Learning where visitors can find video courses in business, technology and creative skills.

For children and teens, a new installation of CPL StoryWalk has been announced, which allows patrons to stroll the library lawn, while following along with posted pages of children’s books. Stories will be changed regularly.

CPL also now offers free notary services by appointment. 

For more information about the library’s approved operating budget, visit cplib.org/about/documents, and to learn more about Comsewogue Public Library’s programs and services for community members of all ages, visit cplib.org, or call 631-928-1212.

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Vaccine appointments will available Saturday, April 17, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Rose Caracappa Senior Center located at 739 NY-25A in Mount Sinai for people aged 50 and over.

The office of Town of Brookhaven Councilman Jonathan Kornreich (D-Stony Brook) can help interested residents register for an appointment by calling 631-451-6963.

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Knights of Columbus Father Seyfried Council will host its annual community food drive on Saturday April 17, and Sunday, April 18 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Donations will be collected at the KOC Hall located at 44 Church St. in Kings Park. Canned and packaged food such as cereal, pasta, peanut butter, jelly, soup, baby food, pancake mix and juice boxes are needed. Gift cards will also be accepted. For more information, please call 631-724-1410.

The Suffolk County Department of Health Services today issued an advisory to take precautions before recreating in the Nissequogue River and boat ramp parking area at/near the Nissequogue River State Park Marina in Kings Park.  This advisory follows a recent NY-Alert notification of an effluent discharge from a manhole within the conveyance network in this area. Though the effluent has been treated, there is potential for elevated levels of pathogenic organisms to be present in this area.

Corrective actions to mitigate the discharge have been initiated and full repairs are scheduled for Friday, April 16, 2021.

Suffolk County Health officials are working closely with the NYSDEC, which has jurisdiction over the permitting, enforcement, and management of the Kings Park sewage treatment plant.

Residents and fisherman are advised to avoid contact with waters from this area of Nissequgoue River as well as the boat ramp parking lot until full repairs of the conveyance network are made. NYSDEC already prohibits the harvest of shellfish from this area at all times.  Keep children and pets away from the area as well. If contact does occur, rinse off with clean water immediately.  Seek medical attention if after exposure you experience nausea, vomiting or diarrhea; skin, eye or throat irritation, or allergic reactions or breathing difficulties.

More information is forthcoming as health officials learn more about the situation.

Pictured from left, Scott Svitek, MD, Chair, Allied Foundation Board and Partner, Allied Physicians Group; Melissa Passarelli, Director of Programs, Docs for Tots & New York State Act Early Ambassador, Help Me Grow-Long Island; Heather Edwards, Executive Director, Allied Foundation; Marc Suntup, Vice President of Development, Island Harvest; and Shannon Karafian Volunteer and Community Relations Coordinator, Island Harvest

In partnership with the Allied Foundation Diaper Bank, Long Island’s only diaper bank, Help Me Grow–Long Island recently donated 53,250 diapers and 43,200 baby wipes to struggling Long Island families for distribution through Island Harvest Food Bank. Even before the COVID-19 crisis, approximately one in three U.S. families experienced diaper need, a public health issue exacerbated by the growing economic and unemployment crisis caused by the pandemic.

Diaper costs are supported by a grant from The JPB Foundation through Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. This opportunity was made available by the Help Me Grow National Center to Help Me Grow–Long Island, an initiative overseen by Docs for Tots. The diapers are secured through the National Diaper Bank Network (NDBN). As a recognized member of NDBN, a national nonprofit, The Allied Foundation Diaper Bank is given direct access to high-quality diapers needed to help keep all babies clean, dry and healthy in their communities.

The Allied Foundation, a not-for-profit organization founded by Allied Physicians Group, based in Melville, has distributed 915,000 diapers to families in need in Suffolk, Nassau, Queens and Brooklyn since its inception in 2017. In all of 2019, the diaper bank distributed 45,000 diapers; however, because of the unprecedented demand for diapers, today the program is on track to distribute 1 million diapers in 2021 to help families who are less fortunate.

“Infants require up to 12 diapers a day, toddlers about eight making the cost as much as $80 per month, per baby. Clean, dry diapers are critical for ensuring good health to prevent illness and skin infection. More parents are struggling and simply unable to afford them due to loss of employment or other hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Allied Foundation Executive Director Heather Edwards.

“No state or federal child safety-net program allocates dollars specifically for the purchase of diapers,” explained Scott Svitek, MD, Chair, Allied Foundation Board and Partner, Allied Physicians Group.

“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, over 95 percent of the families that contact us need help with diapers,” said Melissa Passarelli, Director of Programs, Docs for Tots and Help Me Grow–Long Island Coordinator. “We have been working with our partners connecting families with diapers. This grant from the JPB Foundation allows us to get diapers into the hands of families who need them most.”

“Diapers and baby wipes are items that are in high demand among parents struggling to make ends meet, even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Marc Suntup, Vice President of Development, Island Harvest Food Bank. “Thanks to the generous donation by The Allied Foundation, Help Me Grow–Long Island and Docs for Tots, so many parents can now provide such essential products to help keep their babies safe and healthy.”

To learn more about the Allied Foundation and the Allied Diaper Bank of Long Island, visit https://alliedfoundation.org/give/donate-diapers/ or call (631) 386-4185. For additional information about Help Me Grow–Long Island, log on to www.docsfortots.org/help-me-grow-long-island. For more details about Docs for Tots, please visit www.docsfortots.org. More information about Island Harvest is available www.islandharvest.org.

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On Sunday, April 18 at 9 a.m.,  local nonprofit Hometown Hope —in conjunction with Seatow, Sheep Pasture Landscaping and Maggio Environmental — will be hosting a beach cleanup event at all Port Jefferson-area beaches. 

Volunteers will be dispersed across Centennial Beach, Belle Terre Beach, McCallister Park, West and East Beach. 

Grab a mask and some gloves and come help keep the local beaches beautiful.

Hometown Hope Port Jefferson provides and connects resources and support in times of need to all Port Jefferson village residents by promoting a movement of spreading kindness. 

Hometown Hope strives to uplift through wellness, resilience and compassionate understanding within the community. 

To find out more about Hometown Hope, or to sign up for the upcoming beach cleanup, visit their website at hometownhopepj.org.

Suffolk County Community College students Jason Saravia, Gabrielle Flores, Kecia McKoy and Brian Higgins all received COVID-19 vaccinations at NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo’s announcement at Suffolk’s Michael J. Grant Campus on April 12 that New York State is taking its battle to defeat COVID-19 to college campuses, offering vaccines for students with direct allocations to schools, colleges and universities.

The Governor greeted each of the students after they received their vaccinations.

“Vaccinations are safe and effective and the best way to ensure that students don’t bring the virus home to family and friends. Vaccinations will also open the door to a return to campus and the college life students have been missing.” said Suffolk County Community College Interim President Louis Petrizzo.

Suffolk County Community College students who would like to be vaccinated can schedule a vaccination appointment by email at: [email protected]. The email must include contact information (cell phone number and college email address). A college representative will call to schedule an appointment.

Photos courtesy of SCCC

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The Suffolk County Department of Health Services has paused dispensing of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at its vaccination dispensing locations, following state and federal recommendations while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) review data about an extremely rare type of blood clot that has been reported in six people who received that vaccine in the United States.

As of April 12, more than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine have been administered in the U.S. CDC and FDA are reviewing data involving a rare and severe type of blood clot that was reported in six people after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. All six cases occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred six to 13 days after vaccination.

Suffolk County officials are not aware of any cases occurring among the approximately 2,000 residents who have received this vaccine through the County Health Department thus far. Those residents who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine who develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care practitioners promptly.

“While this issue appears to be extremely rare, CDC and FDA are acting in a very cautious manner that underscores our commitment to vaccine safety,” said Dr. Gregson Pigott, Suffolk County Commissioner of Health Services. “We will be closely monitoring the federal review process and use that information to help guide our efforts here in Suffolk County in the days ahead.”

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine represents about 2% of the total supply of vaccines the Suffolk County Department of Health has received to date, so the pause is not expected to dramatically slow the pace of vaccinations dispensed by Suffolk County. As Suffolk County Department of Health Services does not maintain data on all vaccine providers in Suffolk County, other dispensers may have received and dispensed varying percentages of Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the community.

Residents who currently have appointments to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should watch for a notification from their provider about canceling, postponing or rescheduling the appointment. If your appointment is cancelled, you can look for other vaccination appointments through the Vaccine Locator map, local pharmacies or your area.

CDC will convene a meeting of its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) on April 14 to further review these cases and assess their potential significance. FDA will review that analysis as it also investigates the cases.

Meanwhile, until that process is complete, Suffolk County health officials will continue to dispense the allocations of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines that the county receives from New York State.