Authors Posts by TBR Staff

TBR Staff

TBR Staff
TBR News Media covers everything happening on the North Shore of Suffolk County from Cold Spring Harbor to Wading River.

Presidents Abraham Lincoln, left, and Franklin D. Roosevelt visit their troops during their respective wars. Photos from respective presidential libraries

By Rich Acritelli

“A nation that does not honor its heroes will not long endure.”

These words were stated by an American icon who guided this nation during one of the most tumultuous periods in our history. It was at this point on Veterans Day, 1864, that Lincoln won re-election against former commanding general of the Union military George B. McClellan.  For many months, Lincoln feared that he would not win a second term and that his military forces would have to gain a decisive victory against the South before he left office in March of 1865. The president agonized over his personal estimation that he would eventually lose to McClellan and that the nation would not be preserved. His eventual victory signaled a continuation of the major task of the Union government to defeat the Confederacy and have the country be united under one flag.  

Lincoln’s armies were led by the skill of General Ulysses S. Grant, who understood the importance of achieving military objectives towards the success of Lincoln being re-elected.  Unlike Robert E. Lee who did not connect the strategy of the Army of Northern Virginia towards leadership directives of Jefferson Davis, Grant directed that his forces had to win battles to persuade northern voters that Lincoln was making enough progress to win the war. Once Grant took over the authority of all Union forces in March of 1864, he directed the bloody fighting in Virginia that resulted in a deadly struggle between these two armies.

At the start of the Overland Campaign in May of 1864, Grant informed Lincoln that there was no going backward against the Confederates. Every effort was put forth to pressure the southern forces that precariously held onto fortifications that guarded Richmond and Petersburg. Although the southerners defeated many of the commanding leaders from the Army of the Potomac, Lincoln had a bulldog in Grant who was not intimidated by the multitude of southern victories that were won by Lee. 

Davis and Lee eagerly sought the political defeat of Lincoln, as they realized that if he gained a second term, this president would vigorously carry out the war until the North achieved victory. These key Confederate leaders worried about the lack of resources and the stretching of their own lines against the numerical strength of the northern soldiers.  And in Georgia, Sherman left behind Atlanta in his “March to the Sea,” where he captured Savannah by Christmas as a gift to Lincoln. With a vengeance, Sherman marched through the Carolina’s to link up with Grant’s army in Virginia. Grant’s unwillingness to bend against the Confederates and the political and military wisdom of Lincoln, signified the beginning of the end for the Confederacy in early November of 1864.

During World War II in Europe and at this moment in time (originally called Armistice Day), Allied armies quickly operated from Normandy to move eastward into the interior of France. That summer was an extremely hazardous moment for the Germans, as they were driven back into Poland on the Eastern Front, in the West, and when Paris was liberated by General Dwight D. Eisenhower and his coalition of armies. Even as Operation Market Garden was deemed a failure with a waste of resources and men, the Allies waged massive air drops into Belgium, the Netherlands, and near the German border. This pursuit from the Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea saw German military resistance almost collapse in this part of Europe that was held by the Nazis since the spring of 1940.  

Like that of Lincoln, President Franklin D. Roosevelt faced a re-election, but this was for his unprecedented fourth term. Many Americans counted on the smile of Roosevelt and his guidance during the harrowing moments of this war. Although Lincoln was a dominant Republican and Roosevelt was one of the most capable Democratic Presidents to hold office, these leaders shared many similarities. With six months left of fighting their respective wars, both men were exhausted from the daily rigors of leadership and they aged beyond their years. They asked their populations to keep sacrificing for the good of the war, grieved over losses, and they were determined to gain a victory that would change both the nation and the world.  

Both men are historic giants, but they were known for being major political figures within their states of Illinois and New York, respectively. They held secondary military positions, as Lincoln was a captain of his militia during the Black Hawk Indian War and Roosevelt was an Assistant Secretary of the Navy during World War I. To win their respective wars, Lincoln counted on the support of war time Democrats that served in the Union army as generals. When Roosevelt ran for re-election for his third term in 1940, he fully realized that America would eventually fight the Germans and Japanese. FDR asked for the support of noted Republicans Frank Knox as the Secretary of the Navy and Henry L. Stimson to command the War Department. 

These historic families sacrificed like others in this country as Lincoln’s son Robert was a captain within Grant’s headquarters staff. Jimmy Roosevelt, the eldest son of FDR, was decorated for dangerous combat operations against the Japanese, and he ended the war as a colonel. They were well-liked figures that saw Lincoln present colorful stories and Roosevelt always wore a smile on his face during tense moments. While they were busy running the war, both leaders saw the importance of visiting their soldiers. At the end of the Civil War, a tired Lincoln was urged by Grant to spend time with his headquarters and soldiers at City Point, Virginia. Lincoln rode his horse close to the front lines with Grant and enjoyed the company of his officers and soldiers. In North Africa, Roosevelt sat in a jeep with his brilliant smile and openly talked to Eisenhower and General George S. Patton. Even at the cusp of total victory, Lincoln was at the service of Grant in helping him at every turn to defeat the Confederacy and end slavery in this country. Roosevelt was driven to destroy fascism as his armies were poised to enter Germany and General Douglas MacArthur prepared to stage his return to the Philippines.  

When these leaders died, the American government, military, and civilians mourned over their loss. Citizens watched the trains that brought Lincoln to Springfield, Illinois and Roosevelt to Hyde Park, New York for their final burial. Americans from different walk’s life tried to gain a last glimpse of the coffins that were draped within an American flag.  May this nation always thank the men and women that served in the armed forces within every conflict and those historic political leaders that put our people first during exceedingly trying times.  

Rich Acritelli is a social studies teacher at Rocky Point High School and an adjunct professor of American history at Suffolk County Community College.

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Police are looking for a man who allegedly stole an employee's jacket from a St. James restaurant. Photo from SCPD

Suffolk County Crime Stoppers and Suffolk County Police 4th Precinct Crime Section officers are seeking the public’s help to identify and locate the man who allegedly stole a jacket at a St. James restaurant in February.

A man allegedly stole a jacket belonging to an employee at Golden Dynasty Restaurant, located at 416 North Country Road, Feb.28 at approximately 9:25 p.m.

Suffolk County Crime Stoppers offers a cash reward for information that leads to an arrest. Anyone with information about these incidents can contact Suffolk County Crime Stoppers to submit an anonymous tip by calling 1-800-220-TIPS, utilizing a mobile app which can be downloaded through the App Store or Google Play by searching P3 Tips, or online at All calls, text messages and emails will be kept confidential.

Friendly's in Miller Place

Friendly’s Restaurants LLC, has filed for bankruptcy again and has an agreement to be sold to Amici Partners Group for just under $2 million. The parent company of the family-friendly restaurant chain, known for its Jim Dandy ice cream sundaes and Fribble milkshakes, made the announcement on Nov. 2. Almost all the 130 active Friendly’s locations will remain open and thousands of jobs will be preserved by the sale which is set to be complete in December.

As part of the deal, Friendly’s lenders have agreed to waive nearly $88 million in secured debt, according to court documents.

Friendly’s had been struggling since before the pandemic, closing hundreds of restaurants over the last decade and filing for bankruptcy in 2011. The chain had rebounded over the past two years, but COVID-19 restrictions became too much to overcome, the company said.

“Over the last two years, Friendly’s has made important strides toward reinvigorating our beloved brand in the face of shifting demographics, increased competition and rising costs,” George Michel, CEO of Friendly’s owner FIC Restaurants, said in a statement. “Unfortunately, like many restaurant businesses, our progress was suddenly interrupted by the catastrophic impact of COVID-19, which caused a decline in revenue as dine-in operations ceased for months and reopened with limited capacity.”

Amongst record-breaking turnout for the 2020 election, there is still one lingering issue that Suffolk County needs to correct for the many elections in our future, namely the dearth of early voting locations in the county.

In the midst of a pandemic, providing an opportunity for locals to vote earlier than Election Day made more sense than ever before. It was about keeping the number of people to a minimum to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Accommodating those who didn’t want to vote amongst crowds because they felt they would be at a higher risk to catch the coronavirus should have been at the utmost of priorities.

In Suffolk, past years have seen one early voting site per town, and this year the number of locations was increased to 12. Critics had lobbied for more than a dozen sites in the county, preferably 21, but the calls were met with compromise.

Well, the results are in and the critics were right. The slight bump in polling places wasn’t enough. People found themselves in line at early polling locations for hours. Lines at locations like Brookhaven Town Hall or Nesconset Elementary School snaked through parking lots and twisted around residential streets. As ridiculous as it sounds, people had to bring chairs with them to vote.

According to New York State law, the boards of elections should consider various factors when choosing a site including population density, travel time, proximity to other sites and how close it is to public transportation routes.

In Brookhaven, voters could find locations in Farmingville and Mastic but nothing on the North Shore. Smithtown residents had one location in Nesconset and many, once they discovered they would have to wait hours in line, traveled to Brentwood to vote early. In the TBR News Media coverage area from Cold Spring Harbor to Wading River along the North Shore of the Island — which can vary between 40 to 50 miles depending on what route a person takes — that Nesconset location was the only early voting polling place.

Of course, we realize one of the problems may be a lack of poll workers and volunteers. Hearing the concerns of many residents who are now shouting voter fraud and the like it’s ironic how more people aren’t willing to participate in one of the most important processes in America. Our suggestion to the Suffolk County Board of Elections: Make more of an effort in getting the word out that people are needed to help voters.

The long lines of people to cast an early vote proved that Suffolk residents wanted their voices to be heard. Those lines proved that the county and country need to rethink the early voting process.

Suffolk County needs to work out a funding stream that is dedicated to early polling places come Election Day, and the nation needs to have a serious conversation about standardized processes for mail-in ballots or early voting. At the same time, why not make Election Day a national holiday?

While the hope is that future election procedures won’t need to adhere to pandemic guidelines, offering a more flexible schedule enables people more than 15 hours on Election Day to have their say, no matter what their workday schedule or other responsibilities entail.

To have one day to vote may have worked in the early days of our country, but with the U.S. population increasing massively over the centuries, and people of color as well as women gaining the right to vote along the way, it’s time to expand to make sure every adult in America can vote no matter what their circumstances may be.

Volunteers at a previous Dickens Festival in Port Jefferson line up for the Giant Puppet Parade. Photo by Heidi Sutton

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! This is an official Bah Humbug notice that the 25th annual Village of Port Jefferson Charles Dickens Festival is canceled this year. As the festival attracts over 25,000 people on the first weekend after Thanksgiving weekend in December, the COVID-19 pandemic makes safety first the rule for this family favorite event.

“The Village is so disappointed to postpone the 25th Silver Anniversary of our beloved festival founded by former Mayor Jeanne Garant,” said Mayor Margot Garant.

“But we honor and respect the need to protect our public, our cherished volunteer base and the establishments and houses of worship that traditionally open their doors to host the festivities. It is our primary objective to protect the health and wellness of our community and maintain the ability to keep our businesses open and operating safely under the current NY State guidelines.”

“The 25th Anniversary Dickens Festival was in the works right after the close of 2019’s presentation,” said Allan Varela, Greater Port Jefferson Arts Council Chair and Executive Producer of the Festival since 2005.

“While we were planning bigger, better, happier and more magical, Covid-19 hit the international stage forcing our hand to cancel this year. Too many people descend on the Village to enjoy the festivities making social distancing impossible. As sad as this is, we simply cannot risk anyone catching COVID. So, the Bah Humbug award will be taken away from Mr. Scrooge and given to Mr. Virus!” he said.

Stay tuned for Dickens plans in the future.

Huntington Town Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci presented Town Clerk Andrew P. Raia with a proclamation commemorating American Archives Month in front of the Town Clerk’s new Farming in Huntington exhibit on Oct. 20.

“Farming has a long and fascinating history in the Town of Huntington, and I would like to thank those farms which are participating in my office’s Farming in Huntington exhibit as part of Archives Month 2020,” said Raia.

“Our rural roots are on display in the Town Clerk’s “Farming in Huntington” exhibit, which also punctuates the need to preserve this type of open space to maintain the character of our Town,” said Sup. Lupinacci. “The Town Clerk’s Archives Month exhibit highlights the significance of preserving historical records and help us understand how our past has influenced our present.”

Farms featured in the exhibit include Albert H. Schmitt Family Farms, Albert Schmitt & Sons Farms, Carlson’s Elwood Farms, Crossroads Farm, DeLea Sod Farms, Dobler Farms, ELIJA Farm, Elwood Pumpkin and Christmas Tree Farm, F & W Schmitt’s Family Farm, Kerber’s Farm, Lewis Oliver Dairy, Makinajian Poultry Farm, Manor Farm, Mediavilla Orchards, Prianti Farms Inc., Richters Orchard, Schneider’s Farm, Tilden Lane Farm and White Post Farms of Melville.

“The images, artifacts and antique items loaned to the exhibit from owners of the participating farms provide an in-depth look into the evolution of farming in Huntington and serve as an educational experience for individuals of all ages,” said Raia.

A virtual Farming in Huntington exhibit with an interactive tour map is also in production, and will be announced when it is available for viewing. A dedication and renaming of the Huntington Town Clerk’s Records Center & Archives Division in honor of Jo-Ann Raia, Huntington’s Town Clerk for 38 years, originally scheduled for 2020 will take place in 2021, with details to come.

The exhibit will be on display on all three floors of Huntington Town Hall for one year and will be open to the public free of charge by appointment. Please call the Town Clerk’s office at 631-351-3206 or the Town Archivist at 631-351-3035 to schedule a tour.

The Smithtown Township Arts Council will present its latest exhibit, Celebrating Creativity: Creative Responses to Challenging Times, from Nov. 7 to Dec. 19 at the Mills Pond Gallery in St. James. The fine art exhibition features 86 works by 51 artists

Artists were asked to show what they have been creating during the pandemic and to share with their thoughts and feelings about creating during these challenging times. Some works in the exhibit express the fear and anxiety while others find beauty in nature, or celebrate simple pleasures of everyday life. Some artists created to share memories of past joyful times … some created work specifically about the pandemic. Many shared that the creation of their art helped process their feelings. The common thread … joy in the simple act of creating.

“We encourage [everyone] to visit the gallery … it is a safe space with social distancing and the use of masks required and limited numbers of visitors (20 allowed in the gallery at one time — 4 per gallery room).  Enjoy the exhibit and experience Art’s capacity to bring joy and hope in challenging times,” said Allison Cruz, Executive Director of the Mills Pond Gallery.

Exhibiting artists include Marsha Abrams (Stony Brook), Lucia Alberti (Smithtown), Tina Anthony (Northport), Ryanne Barber (West Babylon), Bonnie Bennett Barbera (Ronkonkoma), Shain Bard (Huntington Station), Ron Becker (Deer Park), Victoria Beckert (Holbrook), Sheri Berman (Dix Hills), Joyce Bressler (Commack), Nan Cao (New York), Carol Ceraso (Hauppauge), Lou Charnon-Deutsch (Stony Brook), Donna Corvi (Montauk), Bernadette De Nyse (Sound Beach), Lou Deutsch (Stony Brook), Doris Diamond (East Setauket), JoAnne Dumas (Wading River), Paul Edelson (Poquott), Ellen Ferrigno (Port Jefferson), Modern Fossils (Frenchtown, NJ), Kathleen Gerlach (Greenlawn), Maureen Ginipro (Smithtown), Jan Guarino (East Northport), Margaret  Henning (Sayville), David Jaycox Jr (Northport), and Anne Katz (Stony Brook)

Also, Lynn Kinsella (Brookhaven), Julianna Kirk (Brookhaven), John Yannis Koch (Port Jefferson Sta.), Myungia Anna Koh (Stony Brook), Liz Kolligs (Glen Cove), Frank J Loehr (Bethpage), Mary Lor (New York), Martha Mcaleer (Hampton Bays), Kristyn Mehl (Mount Sinai), Diane Oliva (Middle Island), Robin  Roberts (Sayville), Lori Scarlatos (Saint James), Gia Schifano (New Hyde Park), Anita Schnirman (Kings Park), Joan Sicignano (Central Islip), Susan Kozodoy  Silkowitz (Lynbrook), Gisela Skoglund (Kings Park), Mike Stanko (Valley Stream), Madeline Stare (Smithtown), Tracy Tekverk (Kings Park), Victoria Twomey (Northport), Nicholas Valentino (N. Babylon), Mary Ann Vetter (St James), Patricia Yantz (Setauket), and Theodora Zavala (East Meadow)

The Mills Pond Gallery, 660 Route 25A, St. James is open Wednesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. The gallery will be closed from Nov. 25 to 29. Visit or call 631-862-6575 for directions or information.

Local and state officials have long talked about electrification of the Port Jefferson rail line, but missed deadlines and other issues may push any real project back decades. File photo

By Larry Penner

If the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, on behalf of the Long Island Rail Road, will not progress a planning study to look into the feasibility of extending electrification from Huntington to Port Jefferson, this project may never be completed in our lifetime.  

Larry Penner

There is $4 million in real funding from the MTA $32 billion 2015 -2019 Five Year Capital Plan to pay for this study. The MTA previously promised that a contract would be awarded in the summer of 2019. They are now 15 months late in awarding a contract. There is no new recovery schedule for the contract award. If the MTA is unable to initiate a planning study, it may be an indication that this project will never go forward.  

Estimated costs for electrification are $18 million per mile. The $260 million funding provided for electrification of the 7-mile Central Branch, running east of Hicksville on the Ronkonkoma line to Babylon is also on hold. This is due to the ongoing MTA financial crisis. This capital improvement would provide additional options for thousands of Babylon riders. They could travel from the Central Branch to Jamaica via the $2.6 billion Main Line Third Track and on to either Penn Station or future Grand Central Terminal by December 2022. Electrification of the Central Branch could also afford creation of a new north/south scoot service, running from Huntington via Hicksville and to Babylon. If results from any planning studies are positive, the next step would be the environmental review process, which would cost millions more. Funding would have to be included under the next MTA 2025 to 2029 Five Year Capital Plan.

The MTA  2020 – 2040 Twenty Year Long Range Capital Needs Plan documents how much money, years or decades will be required before each MTA operating agency, including New York City Transit subway and bus, Staten Island Railway, Manhattan Bronx Surface Operating bus, MTA bus, Long Island and Metro North Rail Roads have reached a state of good repair.  Categories for each agency include such assets as existing bus, subway and commuter rail fleet, stations and elevators to meet Americans with Disabilities Act and escalators, track including switches, signals and interlockings, communications, line structures, and painting, protective netting on elevated structures and bridges, line equipment including tunnel lighting and pump rooms, traction power, power substations, yards and shops and supervisory vehicles. It would be revealing if the MTA and LIRR is serious about extending electrification to Port Jefferson over this time period, it would be included within this report. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and the MTA promised that this document would be made public by December 2019. It is now eleven months late.

Extending electrification of the Port Jefferson branch east of Huntington has been talked about for decades. In the 1980’s, discussions took place between the MTA, LIRR, Suffolk County and various elected officials over which branch should be electrified first. The Ronkonkoma branch was selected over the Port Jefferson branch. 

Without electrification east of Huntington, Port Jefferson branch riders may not have a one seat ride to the future LIRR Grand Central Terminal. Service is promised to begin by the end of December 2022. Thousands of daily LIRR riders from diesel territory branches, including those commuting from stations east of Huntington to Port Jefferson, east of East Williston to Oyster Bay, east of Babylon to Speonk and east of Ronkonkoma, will still have to change at Jamaica for travel to the future Grand Central Terminal or Atlantic Avenue to Brooklyn.    

Future opportunities for funding to progress this project beyond a planning study will be under upcoming MTA 2025 – 2029, 2030 – 2034 and 2035 -2039 Five Year Capital Plans. The estimated cost will grow over time to $1 billion or more. This is necessary to pay for planning, design and engineering, environmental review, land acquisition for construction of power substations, expansion of commuter parking, potential relocation and/or consolidation of existing stations, new stations and platforms, new electric Multiple Unit car storage yard, new track, third rail and signals. From start to finish, the project could require 15 to 20 years. Based upon my past experiences on other FTA, MTA and LIRR projects, I would not be surprised if electrification of the Port Jefferson branch is not completed until 2040. 

Larry Penner is a transportation advocate, historian and writer who previously worked for the Federal Transit Administration Region 2 New York Office. This included the development, review, approval and oversight for billions in capital projects and programs for the MTA, NYC Transit, Long Island Rail Road, Metro North Rail Road, MTA Bus, Suffolk County Transit, Town of Huntington HART Bus, New Jersey Transit along with 30 other transit agencies in NY & NJ.

The Reboli Center for Art and History in Stony Brook presents its holiday inspired exhibit, “Celebrate the Season” from Nov. 5 to Jan. 24, 2021. The show will feature the artwork of 22 local artists along with works by the late Joseph Reboli, the Long Island based artist for whom the Center is named.

Participating artists include Al Candia; Casey Chalem Anderson; Donna Crinnian; Linda Davidson Mathues; Grainne de Buitlear; Julie Doczi; Molly Dougenis; Pam Herbst; Liz Kolligs; Joanne Liff; John Mansueto; Lynn Mara; Jim Molloy; Karen Osti; Joseph Reboli; Doug Reina; Irene Ruddock; Gia Schifano; Mike Stanko; Ty Stroudsberg; Hal Usher; Mary Jane Van Zeijts; Laura Westlake and Patty Yantz.

In addition, the Design Shop is the envy of Santa’s workshop as it is decorated for the holidays and stocked with beautiful, unique and handcrafted gifts for all of your family and friends. There is truly something for everyone of all ages in the festive shop, including jewelry, ornaments, crafts, books, scarves and art. Free gift wrapping is available while you enjoy the holiday spirit at the Center.

“The Center is adhering to New York State and Suffolk County coronavirus guidelines, which limits the number of attendees at one time and requires all visitors to wear a mask and socially distance. Please be assured that staff and volunteers will wear masks, and do continuous cleaning and sanitizing,” said Lois Reboli, president of the Reboli Center.

The Reboli Center for Art and History is located at 64 Main Street in Stony Brook Village. Hours are Tuesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Between November 27 and December 24 the Center will have extended hours and select pop up shops so be sure to visit the gallery’s website at For more information, call 631-751-7707.

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From left, Miss Long Island Teen 2019 Chloe Jones of North Babylon, Olivia Collins, Jasmine Williams and Miss Long Island 2019 Madison Argandona of Stony Brook. from J & L Dream Productions Inc

J & L Dream Productions, Inc., have announced their newest Long Island Queens! On October 4,  in the first virtual pageant, Olivia Collins from Wading River was crowned Miss Long Island Teen 2021 and Jasmine Williams from Elmont was crowned Miss Long Island 2021.

They will begin their year of appearances promoting their platforms and engaging in the Long Island Community. Olivia will be promoting her platform of, suicide and mental health awareness and Jasmine will be promoting increasing access to services for children with intellectual disabilities.

Next year, the 2021 queens will compete for the titles of Miss New York USA® and Miss New York Teen USA®, a title that is no stranger to the Long Island Pageants. Last year, Chloe Jones placed in the top 16 out of nearly 120 teens from across New York state. The award winners include:

Top 5 Finalists Miss

Miss Long Island 2021, Jasmine Williams, Elmont; 1st Runner Up, Samantha Trocchia, Franklin Square; 2nd Runner Up, Maxine Cesar, Valley Stream; 3rd Runner Up, Aterahme Lawrence, Greenpoint; and 4th Runner Up, Jamilah Silver, Middle Island

Top 3 Finalists Teen

Miss Long Island Teen 2021, Olivia Collins, Wading River; 1st Runner up, Isabella Scuteri, Medford; 2nd Runner Up, Jennifer Argueta, Hempstead

Other Award Winners

Miss Photogenic Teen: Alexa Mazzamuto, Plainview; Miss Photogenic: Jillian Dunne, Seaford; Community Queen Miss: Nicole Manza, Lynbrook; Directors Award Teen: Olivia Collins, Wading River; Directors Award Miss: Samantha Mastronardi, Port Jefferson Station; and Pageantry Spirit Award: Melanie Weidman, Sound Beach.

Also, I Am An Inspiration Teen: Keiry Martinez, Amityville; I Am An Inspiration Miss: Tiffany Bonet, Uniondale; Leader of Tomorrow Award Teen: Emily Smeich, Rocky Point; Leader of Tomorrow Award Miss: Alexandra Vernice, Garden City; Leader of Tomorrow Award Miss: Meena Elango, Garden City; People’s Choice Teen: Aaliyah Flores, Hauppauge; and People’s Choice Miss: Christina Bove, Oceanside.

To follow their journey to the state title or to apply to compete for the dream of a lifetime, visit