2021 Elections

Maria Scheuring

A Smithtown lawyer is hoping to achieve something new in the town by becoming the first female supervisor.

Maria Scheuring recently won the approval of Democrats during the June primaries and will be running on Election Day to unseat town Supervisor Ed Wehrheim (R) who is seeking his second term.

If she wins, Scheuring will be the first female supervisor in the Town of Smithtown, and the first Democrat to win since Patrick Vecchio ran in 1977. He switched to the Republican Party in 1990, his run in 1977 making him the first Democrat on the Town Council in 16 years.

Scheuring said “it’s about time for some female representation” and whether a candidate is Democrat or Republican shouldn’t matter.

“In a town that is majority female, we deserve to have our voices heard,” the candidate said. “Since this is a town race, it should not be partisan. To me, it doesn’t matter, Democrat or Republican, because national issues simply do not correspond to our town’s issues. What does matter is values, commitment and transparency. That’s what I want to bring to Town Hall.”

Despite the Republicans’ stronghold on Smithtown, Rich Schaffer, chairman of the Suffolk County Democratic Committee, believes Scheuring has a lot to offer the town.

“Maria’s experience as an attorney and small business owner, and her involvement in the Smithtown school district supporting and advocating for music education makes her an exemplary candidate to bring new leadership to the Town of Smithtown,” Schaffer said in an email. “Maria’s strong roots in the community and incredible work ethic is going to not only motivate Dems to come out and vote, but also give her the cross-party support she needs to win the race.”


Scheuring moved to Smithtown from the Bronx in 2006. While she spent most of her formative years in the borough, moving there when she was 12, she was born in Poughkeepsie, and in her earlier years, she moved around to a lot to places such as New Jersey, Texas and Mexico City.

Her parents were Catholic missionaries who both held doctorates in theology and eventually taught at Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, where Scheuring earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. She said with her sister and brother being close in age to her, that was the only option, since her parents couldn’t afford college for all three at the same time, and they could go to the university for free since their parents taught there.

After achieving her master’s degree, she went on to Fordham University School of Law and obtained her doctorate. She was an assistant district attorney for the Bronx District Attorney’s Office for a few years, before working as an associate attorney for private practices and eventually opening up her own law office.

The divorced mom of three teenagers said her legal career covers everything from guardianship to visiting clients in nursing homes to looking over music contracts. She said her love of music started when she was 11 years old and picked up a guitar. She was in school bands throughout high school and college. While her career plans took another direction, she’s involved in Patchogue’s Alive After Five music series and has enjoyed teaching at Musicology in Smithtown.

Run for supervisor

The candidate said her son Maddox, who interned for Nancy Goroff who ran for U.S. Congress last year on the Democratic ticket, turned her onto politics. Scheuring said he was participating in a Zoom meeting when she heard they needed people to run for Smithtown Town Board.

“I feel like I’m at the point where my kids are getting older and one just graduated high school,” she said. “Should I move or should I do something to try to make it a little better?”

She decided to try to do something to make it a better place to live. She said she feels Smithtown residents have so much at stake.

“You invest so much in this town and in your property and community, but what are you getting back?” she said.

Among her goals, if elected, are downtown revitalization, protection of the environment, affordable housing and transparency. She said like many she feels there are too many abandoned storefronts in the town.

“There are a lot of abandoned storefronts,” she said. “I don’t think that there’s any incentive to get restaurants here.”

She added she went to Bay Shore one night and thought of restaurants in Smithtown that left the town and reopened elsewhere. She said other areas have more restaurants and a livelier evening environment and in turn bring in more revenue and have a stronger community.

She said she believes that most people want to live in a more vibrant town, and while they may not want it as developed as Patchogue, they would be open to something like Sayville or Bay Shore.

“Those are nice towns, those are not overdeveloped,” she said.

She also added that many of the proposed housing in the area is not as affordable as developers have promised. She said revitalization should include discussions with community members including civic groups.

Scheuring also added that she feels the proposed Flowerfield development in St. James isn’t good for the town. Plans include the building of an assisted living facility as well as a hotel and sewage treatment plant. 

“Whatever they want to do there, I don’t know how anyone could agree with that,” she said. “There’s just no feasible way that could keep this town the way it is. I think a lot of people are against that no matter what party affiliation.”

Trustee Kathianne Snaden with her three daughters at the Unity Party victory party June 15. Photo by Julianne Mosher

Over the last few weeks of covering the Port Jefferson Village election, we’ve been fortunate enough to see things in person again. 

Restrictions have been lifted and people are vaccinated — the world is slowly getting back to normal. 

Last week, we attended the candidates’ debate at the Village Center. While sitting in the front row of the packed-out venue, we looked around at the people in the crowd. 

Sitting a few seats away were trustee Kathianne Snaden’s children — three girls, ages 11, 12 and 18.

As their mother debated, answering tough and controversial questions village residents asked, they looked at her with awe. That was their mom up there, taking the initiative to try and make a difference in their community. 

It was inspiring. Sure, we see strong women everywhere nowadays. There are doctors, lawyers, politicians, business owners, inventors — women do great things. But what we don’t always see is the impact this is leaving on our children. Young girls looking up to superstars who have multiple jobs — that include packing their lunches, driving them to school and doing their laundry. 

And it isn’t just that trustee. Candidate Suzanne Velazquez has a daughter who’s graduating high school. That’s another young person with an idol right in her own home. 

A few days later, the Unity Party held an election-result event at Saghar restaurant. Music was playing, food was being served and people danced together to celebrate another two years of the current administration. 

Mayor Margot Garant’s mother, Jeanne Garant, was there. She, too, was mayor of our village years ago, and during her acceptance speech, Margot thanked — and jokingly blamed  — her mom for her inspiration to become mayor. Now seven terms later, that family name is a staple in the village, and it all started with Jeanne putting her name on the ballot. 

What if Jeanne hadn’t run for mayor all those moons ago? Would Margot have decided to run? Maybe having that strong matriarch setting an example to her as a kid is what planted the seed in having her eventually try it out. 

Maybe Velazquez’s daughter will run one day. Maybe Snaden’s will, too.

But the fact that four out of five candidates this year were all women is spectacular and should be applauded. 

Stock photo by Kyle Barr

Belle Terre residents came out Tuesday to vote on two trustee positions, where Richard Harris beat incumbent Dr. Caroline Engelhardt.

According to village clerk Joanne Raso, 225 ballots were cast on June 15. Harris, along with incumbent Dr. Richard Musto, on the Citizens Party platform, took the two titles home: Harris with 136 votes and Musto with 159; Engelhardt received 112 votes

Musto has been a resident of Belle Terre for over 30 years. Now ready for his third term, he previously told TBR News Media he brings 70-plus years of life experience to the table. “I have a strong interest in the village,” he said. “I want to keep it going — I enjoy living here.”

Harris had said he previously never wanted to work in politics, but saw that change was needed in Belle Terre. He said he plans on using his 20 years of professional experience to make the village better.

“I’ve always wanted to make a difference in the village where I live,” he said. 

After moving to Belle Terre with his wife seven years ago, “We could not think of a better place to raise our family,” he said. He is the father of two school-age boys.

Photo from Richard Harris

Harris said he  has served as counsel to town and village boards, planning and zoning boards, conservation boards, public safety commissions, code enforcement and emergency management departments and agencies conducting internal affairs. Currently, he serves as Port Jefferson deputy village attorney and Belle Terre special prosecutor. 

Since moving to Belle Terre, he has served on the traffic safety committee, where he recommended traffic calming measures on Cliff Road, helped build a second kayak rack at Knapp Beach and served on the recently reconvened marina committee. 

After the announcement of his win, Harris said he is honored that his neighbors in Belle Terre elected him as their trustee.

“The role of a trustee in a small village is to ensure that quality of life issues are constantly monitored and addressed efficiently,” he said. “With this in mind, and as I promised during my candidacy, I will be getting to work immediately with the rest of the board to address traffic safety issues, environmental concerns and beach improvements, as well as other pending matters.”

Harris wanted to thank everyone who gave him the chance to continue contributing to the village.

“I’d also like to publicly acknowledge and thank Dr. Caroline Engelhardt for her service to the community, both as a trustee and, even more importantly, as a doctor on the frontlines,” he said. “Her contributions and concern for all of us cannot be overstated.”

Photo by Julianne Mosher

Mayor Margot Garant was reelected by Port Jefferson residents for a seventh term.

Along with fellow trustee incumbents, Kathianne Snaden (936 votes) and Stanley Loucks (930 votes) the Unity Party announced their victory win Tuesday night.

Garant took home 913 votes, while candidate Barbara Ransome — on the Alliance for All ballot — had 513. Suzanne Velazquez, who ran alongside Ransome, received 552 votes.

“I can’t even believe this,” said Garant to her crowd of supporters the night of the win June 15. “I’m so lucky to be here with you guys, to be serving you in this beautiful village.”

Suzanne Velazquez and Barbara Ransome on voting day. Photo by Julianne Mosher

Ransome, who serves as the director of operations for the Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce, said that she and her campaign-mate were saddened by the loss.

“We worked hard to have a high integrity campaign,” she said. “We were disappointed because our hopes were that people really wanted change and that didn’t happen.”

But she and Velazquez took the high road, calling Garant after the results were announced to congratulate her on the win. 

“I told her the chamber will still be a great partner to the village,” she said. 

Velazquez agreed, and said she was thankful to all the people who supported Team Alliance for All.  

“I’m proud to have the opportunity to run for village trustee, especially walking the various neighborhoods, meeting and talking with our neighbors,” she said. “As mentioned in our campaign, both Barbara and I are involved in our community and will continue to be — always trying to make Port Jefferson a great place to live, work and play every day. We have and hope to continue our good, working relationship with Village Hall to make Port Jefferson Village the healthy community we all want it to be.”

Garant, who has been the village’s mayor for 12 years, said she is grateful to serve the community for another two years. 

“Sixty-five percent of the voter population that turned out said we are doing a great job,” she said. “So, we’re going to advance this community together. I want to thank our opponents for bringing out the issues, and for engaging our constituents. We are now putting our heads back down and going back to work.”

When announced, Snaden and Loucks were overjoyed. Loucks made a point to thank the mayor, too.

“Margot is the one who needs to be thanked,” he said. “She held the group together — and it wasn’t an easy year, it was a very difficult year.”

He said he’s honored to live, and help lead, this village.

Mayor Garant with her parents. Photo by Julianne Mosher

“We’re living, in my opinion, in the best village anywhere — not only on Long Island, but in New York state,” he said. “You’ve got everything here — and Margot has led us through it.”

Snaden, who was reelected to her second term, also thanked the mayor for her support from the beginning.

“I knocked on Margot’s door three years ago and I said I want to make a difference. I want to help. What can I do?” she said. “And she sucked me in — and I thank her for that because there was no turning back at that point. It opened up doors that I was able to see where I could help. I grabbed it and I ran with it. And the support that you guys all give me is what keeps me going every single day.”

John Reilly also scored 869 votes as judge in the Justice Court.

Photo from Melissa Paulson

A local mom, nonprofit founder and small business owner is looking to run for Village of Port Jefferson’s mayor seat.

Melissa Paulson, a Port Jefferson village resident since 2014, and owner of the online-only antique store, Melissa’s Cottage and Consignments, said she decided to go against incumbent Mayor Margot Garant because she believes the village needs a change.

A graduate of Hauppauge High School, she moved on to study special education and early education at Dowling College. While there, she worked for the America Reads program providing tutoring services to local children.

Paulson said after getting married and starting her family, she chose to move to the village because she had fond memories of it growing up.

“Coming here as a child and seeing how beautiful it is, but then now, I see the decline,” she said. “It’s very disheartening to see what has transpired. I specifically came here to raise my family, because the ambiance and historical history, and now we’re faced with vacancy, homelessness, acts of violence and safety concerns. So, it’s really time for leadership to really implement changes positively and effectively.”

Prior to her settling down in the village, Paulson’s daughter was diagnosed with cancer at just 18 months. It was then that the mayoral candidate decided to start up a nonprofit, Give Kids Hope Inc., in 2011 where she claims she has helped over 14,000 underprivileged families throughout the last year. 

Give Kids Hope is now located in Port Jefferson Station, after finding a permanent home at 4390 Nesconset Highway last year.

Paulson said her charity work led her to consider a run for mayor over the last couple of years, when she believed the current administration wasn’t fixing the problems she saw. 

“The proposed changes that were set to happen years ago unfortunately haven’t and after being here for so long, I realized it’s time for change,” she said. “I’m not a politician. I’m not a lawyer. I’m Melissa Paulson — I run a charity, but I want to be the voice for people and that’s what people need.”

She said she believes the village needs someone who’s “going to fight for them.”

“I will fight for what’s right,” she added. “I will listen to the voices of our residents, businesses and owners, even schools.  We all need to work together to really make positive changes.”

Some of those changes she is looking to work toward are making the village a safer place, and stopping its commercialization.

“It was a historical village, and now it’s being commercialized by big apartment buildings, and people want that to stop,” she said. 

Paulson said she wants to hold business owners in Upper Port more accountable for graffiti by issuing fines, and to bring businesses back to Down Port. She plans to address homelessness and raise police presence throughout the village. 

Although the village has created a task force to keep an eye on troublesome bicyclists, while also increasing its constable presence on the streets, Paulson said she would like to see more.

“We need police watching our residents. We need more jurisdiction of constables,” she said. “We need to begin finding ways to allow them to have more duties to protect our village more.”

Despite a random and unfortunate incident where a man was killed on Main Street in March, a recent report at the village board of trustees meeting stated that Port Jefferson’s crime rate has been on the decline.

Paulson acknowledged that, but she still sees concerns over the teenage bicyclists who have harassed visitors and residents in the past.

“I’ll feel safer if I see police officers walking around the village,” she said.

One concern that village residents noted when Paulson announced her candidacy was the fact that her two children are part of the Three Village school district.

“I don’t have a choice to attend Port Jefferson schools,” she said.

The village vote is scheduled for June 15.

“Every day I’m working hard to become your mayor,” she said. “This is more than an election, it’s my passion and mission to be the voice of the residents.”

Keep checking back with TBR News Media for more updates on the upcoming village election.

Mike Siderakis answers questions from a resident after the press conference. Photo by Rita J. Egan

Former state senator candidate Mike Siderakis is looking to take on Suffolk County Legislator Leslie Kennedy (R-Nesconset) in November.

Siderakis announced his run for legislator in the county’s 12th District at an April 5 press conference in Lake Ronkonkoma. The event took place on the site of the former Bavarian Inn on Smithtown Boulevard. Last year the Democrat ran for state senator to fill the seat left vacant by former Sen. John Flanagan (R-East Northport). Siderakis lost to Mario Mattera (R-St. James).

During the press conference, Siderakis touched on the importance of quality of life in the district. A New York State Police trooper for nearly 30 years, who is now retired, and a former second vice president of the troopers’ police benevolent association, Siderakis said he and his wife, Sandra, moved from the city to Nesconset to raise a family more than two decades ago. The hope was to live in a neighborhood free of pollution, traffic problems and high taxes.

“I’m sure you’ve noticed over the last two decades our unrushed way of life began to give way to the familiar hustle and bustle we left behind in New York City,” he said. “How many of you live on a block that started as a quiet street only for it to become a cut through due to poor planning, as commuters parade their cars through our neighborhoods, and now we need stop signs and traffic lights to manage traffic in front of our homes. We can’t even make left-hand turns anymore in half of our communities.”

The Democrat added that while residents witness new stores popping up on every corner, they also see empty shopping centers with no businesses moving into the empty storefronts.

“We’ve seen the landscape of our communities change quickly before our eyes,” he said. “As our quality of life has eroded over the past 20 years, one thing has remained constant: A Kennedy has been representing us in the Legislature.”

Leslie Kennedy was elected to the seat in 2015, while County Comptroller John Kennedy Jr. (R-Nesconset), her husband, held the position for 10 years prior.

Siderakis called out Leslie Kennedy for not being involved in the public information meetings that the Town of Smithtown held regarding its proposed master plans for the downtown areas and open spaces or holding community outreach meetings of her own.

“Huge changes are afoot in our district, and she’s not even at the table,” he said. “Today we kick off this campaign on a symbol of the neglect in our community. This barren lot at one time held the Bavarian Inn, prime waterfront property on Lake Ronkonkoma. The inn was derelict from 2007 and was finally demolished in 2013 after strong community opposition and demand for it to be demolished.”

He said Leslie Kennedy “proudly says” that she secured funding to buy trees for the now-vacant land.

“Look around at the trees, the dirt, the dying saplings planted without care,” he said. “Is this an accomplishment? And now look behind me on the lake — Islip and Brookhaven, look at their sections, they have some well-maintained beaches, benches. We are standing on what should be a jewel of this district and instead it’s a continuing reminder of how there’s nobody fighting for us.”

The former state trooper said the district needs a fierce advocate. He added he wants to deliver results, including creating public parks in the district such as by the lake.

“I’m running to fix our roads, create safe intersections … preserve our way of life, to keep our water clean, and to preserve our green spaces,” he said. “To create opportunity and bring back common sense, to say ‘no’ to IDA tax giveaways to developers — and to protect the residential character of our communities.”

The 12th District includes Smithtown, Nesconset, Hauppauge, the Village of the Branch, Lake Grove and parts of St. James, Commack, Lake Ronkonkoma and Centereach. The remaining areas in  the Town of Smithtown fall under the 13th District of the Suffolk County Legislature which is represented by Robert Trotta (R-Fort Salonga.)

Councilman Mark Cuthbertson. File photo

By Harry To

Town of Huntington Councilman Mark Cuthbertson (D) is not seeking reelection and is instead vying for the Suffolk County Legislature seat in the 18th District.

Huntington Councilman Mark Cuthbertson

The seat is currently held by William “Doc” Spencer (D-Centerport), who was arrested last October in a sex-for-drugs sting. Police said he allegedly planned to meet a prostitute in the parking lot of a Goodwill store in Elwood to trade sex for pills, reportedly oxycodone. Spencer has decided against running for reelection.

Cuthbertson has served for over two decades on the Huntington Town Board. Now, he hopes to translate his experience in local politics to the county level.

“Experience with budgeting and finance, open space and environmental protection, economic

development, employee relations and collective bargaining, and public safety are among the

areas that would allow me to hit the ground running as a county legislator,” he said in a phone interview Friday. “There are various facets of my private sector experience in commercial real estate, civil rights litigation and land use that also round out my experience and will allow me to better serve the people as a county legislator.”

According to a press release, Cuthbertson’s accomplishments as a legislator include sponsorship of two open space contracts that resulted in the preservation of hundreds of acres of environmentally sensitive lands, strengthening local laws to increase affordable housing for

working families and helping raise the town bond rating to AAA, the highest rating.

Cuthbertson is a lifelong resident of Huntington, graduating from Walt Whitman High School. Later he attended Villanova University and earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration and then his juris doctor degree from Albany Law School, where he was a member of the Albany Law Review publication.

He is also a graduate of the Energeia Partnership at Molloy College, a leadership institute

dedicated to addressing complex and challenging issues on Long Island.

Rich Schaffer, chairman of the Suffolk County Democratic Committee, spoke about

Cuthbertson’s local popularity.

“Councilman Mark Cuthbertson has been consistently reelected to the Huntington Town Council

because of his record delivering for the families of Huntington,” Schaffer said.“We’re excited to work with Mark to keep our Democratic majority in the Legislature so he can continue working to improve the lives of Suffolk County families.”

To oppose Cuthbertson, the Suffolk County Republican Party has put forth Stephanie Bontempi,

a fifth-grade teacher at The Green Vale School in Old Brookville and chairperson of the Town of Huntington’s Beautification Advisory Council.

The Old Field Lighthouse. Photo by Huberto Pimental

Old Field residents will choose from three candidates for two trustee seats on the village board when they go to the polls March 16.

Incumbent Stephen Shybunko, a manufacturing business owner, and Adrienne Owen, the lead member of production supervisory at Renaissance Technologies, will be running on The 1927 Party ticket, while Rebecca Van Der Bogart, a global account manager for the furniture company Herman Miller, is running on The Good Neighbor Party ticket.

Mitchell Birzon will be running for village justice to fill the remainder of the term left open after the death of justice Ted Rosenberg in September. The term will conclude April 1, 2022, and Birzon is unchallenged.

Stephen Shybunko

Shybunko is the only incumbent on the ballot and has been a trustee for more than 12 years. He was first appointed to the village board and went on to be elected six times. He is currently the deputy mayor, and has served in the position for eight years after being appointed by former Mayor Michael Levine and then current Mayor Bruce Feller. Shybunko said before running again he discussed his intentions with his family and received encouragement from the mayor and the other board members.

“I genuinely enjoy the interaction with residents and get great satisfaction in governing on a local level where results are quickly realized and change can be instituted swiftly when needed,” he said.

Living in Old Field for 30 years with his wife, Kerry, and raising three children, Kyle, 31, Stephen, 30, and Kathryn, 25, he feels that maintaining the beauty of the village is important.

“Being good stewards and maintaining the beauty and diversity of the environment is always important,” he said. “Balancing the fragile ecosystem with property development is a task that requires knowledge, experience and the ability to respect and listen to all stakeholders.”

Shybunko said he believes he possesses the qualities to take on that task, and he is “always willing to learn more and educate myself on best practices going forward.”

“Old Field’s waterfront properties and continuing development provides both a challenge and an opportunity to lead the way on responsible development,” he said.

In a letter to residents, he listed the board’s achievements during his tenure, including “sound village finances.” He said Old Field has continuously enjoyed “the lowest fiscal stress scores as reported by the New York State comptroller,” among all towns, villages and school districts in the state. With only two years left on a 10-year loan that was used for roads, the village will save $180,000 on taxes when the loan is paid off, Shybunko said. He said he currently doesn’t see any large expensives on the horizon for Old Field.

Adrienne Owen

While Adrienne Owen may be a new candidate on this year’s ballot, she is extremely familiar with the Old Field board. Her husband, Jeff, is currently a board member. After serving six terms, her husband decided not to run in 2021.

She said in an email it was Feller who planted the seed in her head about running at a birthday party back in 2019. She spent seven years on the board at Harbor Country Day School in St. James, and when she started, she said she had no related experience.

“I am an eager learner,” Owen said. “While a non-for-profit school board and an incorporated village board are different, the fundamentals of board service are the same. My experience on the HCDS board made me see how fulfilling giving my time and my energy to an organization I really cared about could be.”

She said she doesn’t see the village “facing any issues of great significance.”

“The board has always been populated with strong leadership during my residence,” she said. “Mike Levine was a dedicated mayor for a very long time, and Steve Shybunko has been a devoted deputy mayor. I am thrilled Steve is continuing the tradition of running for trustee with an Owen.”

While she doesn’t see any huge issues in the village, Owen added processes and procedures can always be improved.

“I think I will provide a fresh perspective in this regard,” she said. “I have extensive experience working on tight and balanced budgets, and I have good management skills. I will approach all issues by doing my own due diligence and listening to all perspectives.”

Owen has lived in the village with her husband since 2008 and their son, Grant, is about to turn 15.

Like Shybunko, she wishes to see new beautification projects in Old Field.

“We are about to embark on a major restoration and renovation of the Old Field Lighthouse,” she said. “I am secretary of the Old Field Lighthouse Foundation and, if elected, I will be the liaison between the board and the foundation.”

Rebecca Van Der Bogart

Van Der Bogart is also a new name on the ballot for trustee, but familiar with village business.

She volunteers with the Crane Neck Association and is on the zoning board of appeals for Old Field. She and her wife, Hayley Devon Ogle, have lived in the village since 1997.

Among the items Van Der Bogart would like to see improved in the village is communication among residents. She said sometimes residents are too quick to report a problem to the village, like a floodlight shining in their window, before communication with their neighbors. She believes in being a good neighbor and that’s why she picked it as her platform.

“I know it sounds funny, but I believe that people should communicate with each other, and work together and make this community — make our neighborhood — as great as it could be,” she said. “Have dialogue with each other, try to help each other.”

Van Der Bogart added as a resident she tries her best to attend village meetings and believes she will bring a different perspective to the board. She said while Old Field is known for having wealthy people, that’s not the case for every resident.

“We’re not all millionaires, and I think that should be represented on the village board,” she said.

Van Der Bogart added not only as a neighbor but also as a businessperson her goal is to make sure that everybody has a better experience when dealing with village government, likening it to a customer-service approach.

In the past, Van Der Bogart has worked with the village to curb issues brought on by deer such as eating vegetation and Lyme disease. On the village’s deer committee, she worked with the New York State Department of Conservation, local elected officials and deer hunters. She also investigated villages such as Quogue to see how they approached their deer problems, she said, not wanting to have massive amounts of deer killings.

“I said, ‘You know, here’s the problem, people are starting to get sick now, people who are getting tick-borne diseases,’” she said. “There’s a direct correlation that the more deer, the more ticks, the more tick-borne diseases.”

The village changed the code to allow residents to use deer fencing. With this, Van Der Bogart said homeowners could protect their properties and health without resorting to hunting.

“So, it kind of was the happy medium for everybody, and I felt really proud of working on that,” she said.

The election for two trustees and village justice will take place Tuesday, March 16, from noon to 9 p.m. at the Keeper’s Cottage, 207 Old Field Road. 

Stock image

By Iryna Shkurhan

In the Village of Head of the Harbor, two trustee incumbents, Daniel White and Jeffrey Fischer, are running for another two-year term March 16.

Daniel White

Both candidates are currently serving in their eighth year as trustees for the village. As a result of the pandemic, this past year brought new budget challenges due to a shortfall of court and sales tax revenues. But both candidates credit working effectively and diligently with their team to prevail through unforeseen circumstances.

“The village faces significant problems this year because we have a very tight budget as a result of a pandemic, and I think that I can contribute to the overall effective functioning and improvement of life in the village,” White said.

During his service so far, White worked with his fellow trustees to initiate modern radio communications for the highway trucks. Most recently he also helped secure funding for reflective stainless steel clips on the fire hydrants so the firemen can find them easily, even when covered with snow.

“It seems very small, barely worth mentioning, but it can make a significant difference in a situation where if it’s not there, it could be a problem,” White said.

White, 66, has worked as a fidelity lawyer for Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi PC firm for the past three years, specializing in fidelity and surety law. His past law experience includes serving as assistant district attorney in Kings County.

He has lived in St. James at intervals since 1965. Currently White and his wife reside in the home he grew up with their two labradors, Daisy and Holly.

White also served as president of Preservation Long Island, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving Long Island’s diverse cultural and architectural heritage, and completed his extended term in June. He also served on the organization’s board for 13 years.

White and Fischer align with the village statement on the proposed Gyrodyne development project in St. James, which raised concerns about negative traffic and environmental impacts on the village. They are concerned about the possible consequences of a proposed treatment plan on the property so close to Stony Brook Harbor and drastic changes to historic Route 25.

“I think that the historic corridor along Route 25A in that section is a resource that we must conserve and that we must preserve,” said White, who views the proposed location of the site as the “wrong place.”

Jeffrey Fischer

Gyrodyne has proposed to subdivide its 75-acre-property to build a 150-room hotel with a restaurant, two assisted living centers, two medical office parks in addition to a 7-acre sewage treatment plant.

Fischer believes that a moratorium needs to be placed on this project until further studies are conducted on the environmental impact, as well as from a traffic standpoint.

“Our biggest concern right now is the potential Smithtown master plan Gyrodone property,”  Fischer said. “It can have such a negative impact on our village.”

Fischer, 64, has lived in St. James for the past 27 years with his wife and two children.  He is the president and CEO of Atlantic Business Systems, an IT company in Hauppauge that he started 33 years ago. During the past four terms as trustee, he served on the finance board and is responsible for maintaining and balancing the budget.

“With the financial shortfalls that were unforeseen, due to COVID, it’s been challenging,but you know, we’ve prevailed,” Fischer said.

He has also served on the zoning board of appeals for 17 years, for ten of those years he was chairman of the board.

Fischer spearheaded the joining of the St. James fire district for the village, rather than being a customer of the fire district. The initiative was approved this year, giving residents the opportunity to vote in the fire district elections and join as volunteers or commissioners.

“I love doing it,” Fischer said. “I work with a great team of people. Our mayor and my fellow trustees are outstanding people to work with, and we’re getting a lot accomplished.And, I really enjoy it.”

Voting will take place March 16 at Head of the Harbor Village Hall located at 500 North Country Road, St. James. The polls will be open from noon to 9 p.m.

“We live in a wonderful community and people are willing to help in all kinds of ways, and I want to work to focus on getting participation even greater, so that we can make things better,” White said.

Town of Huntington Councilman Ed Smyth (R) will run for supervisor this November. Photo from Huntington Republican Committee

Soon after current Town of Huntington Supervisor Chad Lupinacci (R) announced Feb. 26 he wouldn’t run for reelection in November, Huntington Republican Committee Chairman Thomas McNally sent out an email stating the committee endorsed Councilman Ed Smyth for its candidate.

Smyth was first elected to the Town Board in 2017. Last November he ran unsuccessfully for state senator against Jim Gaughran (D-Northport).

“Ed Smyth is a Marine, a husband and father and a lifelong Huntington resident,” McNally said. “He has a vision for the future of our town and he exudes leadership. There’s not a better or more qualified person to be Huntington’s next town supervisor.”

Smyth thanked the committee for their endorsement.

“We’ve experienced tremendous success over the last three years, and I look forward to building on these achievements as town supervisor,” the councilman said.

In a Feb. 26 statement, Lupinacci said his decision not to run again for town supervisor came “after much deliberation and consideration with my family, friends and advisers.”

“To be clear, this was my decision and my decision alone made in the best interest of my family, the town and the Republican Party,” he said. “While this decision is a difficult one, it is made easier by the fact that in less than one term I have delivered on all of my campaign promises and will continue to accomplish the many goals I set out to achieve before this final year is complete. Few administrations have faced as many challenges, and few have achieved what we have. I am proud that I will leave the Town of Huntington in a far better place than when I took office, and for that reason I am incredibly optimistic about the future of the town and its hamlets that I love so much.”

In February, the Huntington Town Democratic Committee announced Rebecca Sanin’s run for Town of Huntington supervisor. The 42-year-old, who lives in Huntington Station with her family, has served as the president and CEO of the Health & Welfare Council of Long Island since 2017. Prior to that, she worked with Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone’s (D) administration for more than five years as an assistant deputy county executive.

The Huntington Republican Committee also nominated David Bennardo and Salvatore Ferro for two open town council seats and Andre Sorrentino for superintendent of highways.

Bennardo is a former principal at Harborfields High School, and in July 2012, took over the role of superintendent in the South Huntington school district. Ferraro is president, CEO and owner of Alure Home Improvements and a current member of the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals. Sorrentino is the owner of Professional Automotive Services and Sorrentino Trucking, while currently serving as director of General Services for the town and a Huntington fire commissioner.

“We have an extraordinary team of talented professionals who are committed to making our town a better place to live,” McNally said.  “We know that our team, our party and our town are all stronger when we work together. That’s the approach we’re going to take to win in November and it’s going to help us continue the progress we’ve made over the last three years to protect property taxpayers and encourage responsible economic growth.”