Arts & Entertainment

By Heidi Sutton

The Town of Brookhaven held its annual Groundhog Day celebration at the Holtsville Ecology Site and Animal Preserve on Thursday, Feb. 2. Many families with young children braved the frigid weather to hear a very important prediction from Suffolk County’s most famous weatherman, Holtsville Hal.

Before he read this year’s prognostication, Town of Brookhaven Superintendent Dan Losquadro gave a bit of history of Groundhog Day and how it began in Pennsylvania in 1886 but joked, “We like to say we have the most accurate weatherman. I know they’ve been doing it for longer there in Pennsylvania but Holtsville Hal is the real deal here. Punxsutawney Phil, he had his time; it’s time for Holtsville Hal now.”

At 7:25 a.m. sharp, before a crowd of several hundred spectators, the groundhog awoke from his slumber and saw his shadow,  which, according to folklore, means six more weeks of winter.

Superintendent Losquadro read Hal’s official 2023 prediction with help from the town’s newly appointed clerk, Kevin LaValle.

“As I stepped out of my burrow on this early winter morn’, I rubbed at my eyes and let out a great yawn. It soon became clear the crowd was not here for Honey Bear,  my prognostication was what everyone was waiting to hear.  Six more weeks of winter or an early spring? I know you can’t wait what my prediction will bring.  And so, at 7:25 a.m. on this brisk winter day, I have recorded my prediction and am sorry to say, at sunrise this morning I was startled to see, a shadow in the shape of … none other than me. I scurried back inside to return to my nap, not before reminding you to hold onto your mittens and cap. Spring will have to wait, Mother Nature is not through; six more weeks of winter you can look forward to!”

“I’m always hopeful Hal will predict an early spring and assist with my snow removal budget, but if his prediction proves to be correct, the Brookhaven Highway Department remains ready to handle whatever Mother Nature sends our way,” said Superintendent Losquadro. “I want to thank everyone who took the time to come out and take part in this fun, annual tradition.”

After the event, festivalgoers were treated to bagels courtesy of Bagel Lovers and hot chocolate from 7-Eleven and were able to visit the 100 animals that call the Ecology Site home including deer, horses, goats, llamas, hawks and its newest addition, Leo the Lynx. The center, which is open all year-round, also includes greenhouses, gardens, and jogging and exercise trails. For more information, visit www.brookhavenny.gov or call 631-451-5330.

RODENT MEET AND GREET Meet Nibblet the Groundhog at Sweetbriar Nature Center on Feb. 5.
PROGRAMS

Deer Detectives

Join the staff at Caleb Smith State Park Preserve, 581 W. Jericho Turnpike, Smithtown for a family program, Deer Detectives, on Feb. 4 from 10:30 a.m. to noon. Where have all the deer gone? Expand your deer knowledge indoors as you explore the ways of the white-tailed deer. Outdoors you will become deer detectives and search for the clues that the deer have left behind. $4 per person. Call 265-1054 for reservations.

Open Play at the Explorium

Join the Long Island Explorium, 101 East Broadway, Port Jefferson for Open Play on Feb. 4 and 5 from 1 to 5 p.m. with hands-on activities, crafts, and more. Admission is $5 per person, Long Island Explorium members and children under 1 are free. Call 331-3277 for more info.

Crafternoon at the library

Stop by Emma S. Clark Memorial Library, 120 Main St., Setauket on Feb. 4 anytime between 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. for a winter-themed “Crafternoon”! Children ages 3 to 12 welcome (younger kids may need supervision). No registration required. Questions? Call 941-4080. 

A Groundhog Adventure

Sweetbriar Nature Center, 62 Eckernkamp Drive, Smithtown presents A Groundhog Adventure on Feb. 5 from 1 to 3 p.m. Come find out if Nibblet the groundhog is planning to hibernate for another 6 weeks or predict an early spring. Take part in a fun scavenger hunt to learn some facts about groundhogs, play with shadows, and meet some other animal hibernators and others with different solutions for cold weather. Make a fun groundhog craft to take home. Best for families with children age 4 to 8. Tickets are $10 per child, $5 adults at www.sweetbriarnc.org.

Greetings, Groundhogs!

Sunken Meadow State Park, Sunken Meadow Parkway, Kings Park hosts a Tiny Tots program titled Greetings, Groundhogs! for children ages 3 to 5 on Feb. 9 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Explore the natural world around us. This programs will connect children and their parents with nature through short walks, animal visitors, and crafts. $4 per child. To register, visit www.eventbrite.com. For more information, call 269-5351.

Star Quest

Calling brave explorers! Join the Whaling Museum, 301 Main St., Cold Spring Harbor in a hunt for star constellations around the museum with a spyglass to navigate your journey, just like mariners at sea during gallery hours of 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Solve puzzles to find your reward — a glittery star lantern you can decorate in the museum’s workshop to light your way home. For ages 5 and up. Cost is admission fee plus $10 per participant. Call 367-3418 for more information.

THEATER

Disney’s ‘Frozen Jr.’

The John W. Engeman Theater, 250 Main St., Northport continues its children’s theater with Disney’s Frozen Jr. on Saturdays at 11 a.m. and Sundays at 10:30 a.m. from Feb. 4 to March 5. When faced with danger, princesses Anna and Elsa discover their hidden potential and the powerful bond of sisterhood. This enchanting musical features all of the memorable songs from the hit Disney film and will thaw even the coldest heart! All seats are $20. To order, call 261-2900 or visit www.engemantheater.com.

‘The House That Jack Built’

Theatre Three, 412 Main St. Port Jefferson welcomes the New Year with The House That Jack Built, a delightful collection of stories, specially adapted for the youngest audiences from Jan. 21 to Feb. 4. Inspired by the Brothers Grimm and Aesop’s Fables, the seven stories include The Fisherman and His Wife, Henny Penny, The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse, The Bremen Town Musicians, Stubborn as a Mule, The Lion and the Mouse That Returned a Favor, and The Tortoise and the Hare. This original musical features bold storytelling and a tuneful new score. Tickets are $10. To order, call 928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com.

All numbers are in (631) area code unless noted.

MEET COCO PUFF AND SQUIDWARD!

This week’s featured shelter pets are, from left, brothers Coco Puff and Squidward, two  kitties available for adoption at the Smithtown Animal Shelter. 

They arrived at the shelter on Jan. 21 and are estimated to be 7 years old.

These siblings are quite attached to each other. They lived with three other cats and lost their home when their dad passed away and their mom became ill. They are sweet and affectionate, just a litte shy as they adjust to their new lives. They would love a quiet home together, as they have never been alone. 

If you would like to meet Coco Puff and Squidward, please call ahead to schedule an hour to properly interact with them in a domestic setting.

The Smithtown Animal & Adoption Shelter is located at 410 Middle Country Road, Smithtown. Visitor hours are currently Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Sundays and Wednesday evenings by appointment only). For more information, call 631-360-7575 or visit www.townofsmithtownanimalshelter.com.

Only four more chances to see 'The Sweet Delilah Swim Club' at Theatre Three. Photo by Steven Uihlein/Theatre Three Productions, Inc.
Thursday 2

Brookhaven is Back! event

Brookhaven Chambers of Commerce Coalition present a Brookhaven is Back! event at Brookhaven Town Hall, 1 Independence Hill, Farmingville from 6 to 8 p.m. Representatives from Town of Brookhaven’s Planning, Zoning, Town Clerk and Fire Marshal’s office will be on hand to discuss their functions, how they can help your business and answer questions you may have about doing business in Brookhaven. Questions? Call 889-1190 or email [email protected]

A Victorian Valentine’s Day

Join the Northport Historical Society, 215 Main St., Northport for A Very Victorian Valentine’s Day program from 7 to 9 p.m. Hear the alluring history of Valentine’s Day, told through wine and chocolate! You’ll take a journey from the early beginnings of the holiday, all the way to modern times, while learning (and sampling) an array of wine and chocolate pairings. For ages 21 and up. Tickets are $60 per person. To register, visit www.northporthistorical.org.

An Evening of Jazz

The Jazz Loft, 275 Christian Ave., Stony Brook presents the The Jazz Loft Big Band, a 17 piece big band directed by Jazz Loft Director Tom Manuel, in concert from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $30, $25 seniors, $20 students, $15 children. To order, visit www.thejazzloft.org. For further information, call 751-1895.

Friday 3

First Friday at the Heckscher

The Heckscher Museum of Art, 2 Prime Ave., Huntington continues its First Friday series tonight from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Explore the exhibitions during extended viewing hours and enjoy a special performances by Toby Tobias beginning at 7 p.m. Free. Call  380-3230 for more info.

American Heritage Night

Join the Leo P. Ostebo Kings Park Heritage Museum, 101 Church St., Kings Park for American Heritage Night at 7 p.m. Enjoy music by the Gold Coast Jazz Band and Robert Levey II. Admission is free. For more information, call 269-3305.

Wintertide concert

The Port Jefferson Village Center, 101A E. Broadway, Port Jefferson kicks off the Wintertide concert series from 7 to 8 p.m with a performance by East End songwriter Robert Bruey in the Sail Loft Room on the third floor. $5 donation at the door. Questions? Call 473-4778.

Memphis Jookin’ heads to SBU

Stony Brook University’s Staller Center for the Arts, 100 Nicolls Road, Stony Brook welcomes Memphis Jookin’: The Show featuring Lil Buck on the Main Stage at 8 p.m. Charles “Lil Buck” Riley is a movement artist who is known for being an ambassador for Memphis Jookin, a freestyle-based dance involving intricate footwork. Tickets range from $42 to $75. To order, call 632-2787 or visit www.stallercenter.com.

Saturday 4

Long Island Private School Fair – just added!

Farmingdale State College: Campus Center, 2350 Route 110, Farmingdale will host the 2023 Long Island Private School Fair today from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. showcasing the wide variety of private schools on Long Island. Participating schools include Bridges Academy, Fusion Academy, Harmony Heights, Holy Child Academy, Knox School, Lawrence Woodmere Academy, Long Island School for the Gifted, Long Island Whole Child Academy, Stony Brook School, Waldorf School of Garden City, Westbury Friends School, and Winston Prep School. Free.

Whale Boat Chats

The Whaling Museum & Education Center, 301 Main St., Cold Spring Harbor hosts a Whale Boat Chat surrounding the star of the museum’s permanent collection, the 19th century whaleboat Daisy, at noon and again at 1 p.m. These educator-led gallery talks around the whaleboat will share the story of whaling on Long Island and in Cold Spring Harbor specifically. Visitors will learn that people have been hunting whales here on Long Island for thousands of years. Free with admission to the museum of $6 adults, $5 children and seniors. Call 367-3418.

Saturdays at Six concert

All Souls Church, 61 Main St., Stony Brook continues its Saturdays at Six concert series with a performance by Brazilian guitarist Octávio Deluchi.  The program will feature a balance between well established and canonical pieces, with new works, with works recently premiered and composed.  Selections will include works by Heitor Villa-Lobos, Sergio Assad, Astor Piazzolla, Vicente Paschoal, and Joaquin Rodrigo. The program will begin promptly at 6 p.m. Call 655-7798 for more information.

Sunday 5

Port Jefferson Farmers Market

The Port Jefferson Winter Farmers Market will be held at the Port Jefferson Village Center, 101 E. Broadway, Port Jefferson from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will run every Sunday through April 30. Featuring over 20 vendors. Call 473-4778.

Huntington Farmers Market

The John J. Flanagan Center, 423 Park Ave., Huntington hosts the Huntington Winter Farmers Market every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. through March with over 40 vendors plus guest vendors. Visit www.longislandfarmersmarkets.com.

Caumsett Hike

Join the staff at Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve, 25 Lloyd Harbor Road, Huntington for a four-mile moderately paced walk through the park from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Adults only. $4 per person. Advance registration required by calling 423-1770.

Sunken Meadow Hike

Come celebrate Black History Month with a hike at Sunken Meadow State Park, Sunken Meadow Parkway, Kings Park from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Ten stations along this self-guided hike through the marsh and woodlands will each feature the achievements of a Black environmentalist who has made great contributions to the field of science. $4 per person. To register, please visit EventBrite.com or call 269-4333.

George Cintron & Danny Miranda in concert

The Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame, 97 Main St., Stony Brook will host a concert by George Cintron & Danny Miranda from 3 to 4 p.m. Free with admission to the museum. For more information, call 689-5888 or visit www.limusichalloffame.org.

Ridotto concert

Huntington Jewish Center, 510 Park Ave., Huntington hosts a Ridotto Concert: The Gloriosa Piano Trio at 4 p.m. with Eric Silberger, violin, Kevin Bate cello and Yoonie Han piano. Tickets are $35, $30 seniors, $25 members, $12 students. For reservations, call 385-0373, or email [email protected]

Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser

Resurrection Byzantine Catholic Church, 38 Mayflower Ave., Smithtown invites the community to a Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser in the Church Social Hall from 1 to 6 p.m.  Enjoy spaghetti and meatballs, salad, dessert, coffee and tea. Tickets are $25 adults, $15 per child ages 11 and under. Cash bar (wine, beer, soda) and take out available. For reservations, please call Joanne at 332-1449.

Monday 6

Movie Trivia Night

Do you know a lot about movies? Join the Cinema Arts Centre, 423 Park Ave., Huntington for a Movie Trivia Night hosted by Dan French at 8 p.m. Answer 50 questions based all around film, actors and actresses, awards, and everything else associated with the world of film. Challenge like-minded film fans in a battle of wits for cash and other prizes. You can form teams, so bring some friends and work together. Feel free to come alone and play solo as well. Tickets are $10 per person. Visit www.cinemaartcentre.org to register.

Tuesday 7

NSJC Social Club event

North Shore Jewish Center Social Club, 385 Old Town Road, Port Jefferson Station welcomes chiropractor Michael Horney of Port Jefferson Chiropractic who will talk about healthy living for seniors, including exercise, good eating habits, fall prevention, and the role of Vitamin B-12, in the Social Hall at 11 a.m. Bagels, cream cheese and coffee among other refreshments will be served. $5 per person, $3 members. Call 928-3737 for more information.

Tribute to James Taylor

The John W. Engeman, 250 Main St., Northport presents a concert titled How Sweet It Is! at 8 p.m. Steve Leslie performs the music of James Taylor and will have audiences singing along to such classics as “Carolina In My Mind,” “Shower the People,” “You’ve Got a Friend,” “Fire and Rain,” “Up On the Roof,” and many more. Tickets are $45 per person. To order, call 261-2900 or visit www.engemantheater.com.

Wednesday 8

Winter Art Workshop

Huntington Historical Society hosts a found object wire wrapping workshop at the Conklin Barn, 2 High St., Huntington from 6 to 8 p.m. Taught by artist Jennifer Salta owner of Unmarked Industries, each student will select their own unique piece of sea lass, pottery or crystal and turn it into a beautiful necklace or window hanging using a wire wrapping technique. Each person will leave with a completed piece at the end of the night. All materials are included. $55 per person, $50 members. Register at www.huntingtonhistoricalsociety.org.

Thursday 9

Love Notes in Scrimshaw

Join the Whaling Museum, 301 Main St., Cold Spring Harbor at 2 p.m. or 6 p.m. for Love Notes in Scrimshaw. Take a peek into the world of historic love tokens as you explore romantic examples of carved whalebone from the 19th century. Uncover the secrets of coded images shared between romantic partners and design and carve your own scrimshaw art for someone special (or for yourself!) Adults only. $15 participant (includes admission), $10 members. Call 367-3418.

Lunch and Learn

Kehillath Shalom Synagogue of Cold Spring Harbor presents an online Lunch and Learn program titled Jewish Humor: Then and Now at 12:30 p.m.  34% of American Jewish consider “having a good sense of humor” to be an essential aspect of their Jewish identity. In this new Lunch & Learn class, just in time for Adar!, the group will explore the history and evolution of Jewish humor and explore its components. Bring a joke or story. All are welcome. Contact [email protected] for Zoom information.

Theater

‘The Sweet Delilah Swim Club’

Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson continues its Mainstage season with The Sweet Delilah Swim Club from Jan. 14 to Feb. 4. This hilarious and touching show features five very different but deeply connected Southern women whose friendships began on their college swim team. Each summer they meet for a reunion at the same beach cottage in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Visiting them on four weekends over thirty-three years, we learn of their lives, loves, and losses. Tickets are $35 adults, $28 seniors and students, $20 children ages 5 to 12. To order, call 928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com. 

‘Hello Dolly!’ – just added!

The Stony Brook School’s Theatrical Arts Society,  1 Chapman Parkway, Stony Brook presents ‘Hello Dolly!‘ on Feb. 9, 10 and 11 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 11 at 2 p.m. A musical adaptation of The Matchmaker by Thornton Wilder, Hello, Dolly!  centers around the exuberant Dolly Levi, a matchmaker and self-professed expert in many things — particularly the art of meddling. First performed on Broadway in 1964, Hello, Dolly! is a fast paced, comedic romance that is bound to appeal to musical and theater lovers of all ages.  Tickets are $10. To order, visit sbstickets.ticketleap.com.

‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’

The John W. Engeman Theater, 250 Main St.. Northport presents Dirty Rotten Scoundrels from Jan. 19 to March 5. Con artist Lawrence Jameson is a longtime resident of a luxurious coastal resort, where he enjoys the fruits of his deceptions–that is, until a competitor, Freddy Benson, shows up. When the new guy’s lowbrow tactics impinge on his own work, Jameson resolves to get rid of him. Based on the uproarious movie, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels boasts a jazzy-pop score by David Yazbek, who also wrote the music for The Full Monty. Tickets range from $80 to $85. To order, call 261-2900 or visit www.engemantheater.com. 

Festival of One-Act Plays

Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson presents the 24th annual Festival of One-Act Plays from February 25 through March 25 at The Ronald F. Peierls Theatre, on the Second Stage. Selected from over 250 submissions world-wide, these seven cutting-edge premieres are guaranteed to entertain and engage. Directed by Jeffrey Sanzel, the plays will feature Steve Ayle, Tamralynn Dorsa, Antoine Jones, Brittany Lacey, Phyllis March, Evan Teich, Steven Uihlein, Sean Amato, Ava Andrejko, Angelo DiBiase, Samantha Fierro, Jason Furnari, Melissa Norman, Danielle Pafundi, and Tristan Prin. Please Note: Adult content and language. All tickets are $20. To order, call 928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com.

* All numbers are in (631) area code unless otherwise noted.

Vegetable soup and flaxseed bread

By Heidi Sutton

Homemade soup and home-baked bread are the most basic cold-weather comfort foods. Life doesn’t get any better and lunch/dinner doesn’t get any easier with the following delicious tried and true healthy vegan and gluten-free recipes to start the New Year on the right foot.

Vegetable Soup

YIELD: Makes 6 servings

INGREDIENTS:

2  stalks celery,

2 carrots, sliced.

1medium onion, diced

1 teaspoon salt

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 cups vegetable broth

1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained

1/2 cup farro

1 cup frozen mixed vegetables

1 15-ounce can chili beans , undrained

1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

DIRECTIONS:

Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil in a 5-quart pot. Add celery, carrots, onions and salt. Saute for 10 minutes. Add garlic. Combine vegetable broth, tomatoes and enough water to make 6 to 7 cups. Add liquid to pot. Stir in farro and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Add mixed vegetables and beans, and cook, uncovered for 15 minutes. Serve with flaxseed bread.

Note: This soup freezes well.

Flaxseed Bread

YIELD: Makes 1 loaf

INGREDIENTS:

1 package rapid rise yeast

2 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup ground flaxseeds

1/3 cup old fashioned oats

1/3 cup toasted sunflower seed kernels ( to toast, put on cookie sheet and bake for 7 minutes at 350 degrees)

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup lukewarm water, about 110 degrees

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 tablespoons honey

DIRECTIONS: 

Let yeast bloom in warm water in a small bowl. Combine dry ingredients in stand mixer bowl. Add all liquids. Mix with dough hook to make soft, slightly sticky dough. Do NOT add more flour.

Put dough in a greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled.

Punch dough down. Roll into a 9” by 14” rectangle. Roll up tightly from 9” end. Put roll into a greased 9” by 5” loaf pan, smooth side up. Cover with towel or plastic wrap. Let rise until dough is 3/4” above the pan.

Preheat oven to 350° F. Bake bread for 33 minutes. Turn out unto a rack immediately. If desired, rub a pat of vegan butter over the hot bread to make crust shiny.

Note: Flax seed is high in Omega-3 and-6, and is know to reduce risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes.

These recipes were originally published in TBR News Media’s Prime Times supplement on Jan. 26.

Hoyt Farm's interpretive specialist Sheryl Brook explains the process of maple sugaring to Hauppauge Girl Scouts Troop 428 during last year's event. Photo from Town of Smithtown

Hoyt Farm Nature Preserve in Commack is gearing up for another season of maple sugaring for families, scout troops and nature enthusiasts to take advantage of. This unique educational program, available to the general public, teaches the ancient process of making maple syrup/sugar, which was passed down by the Native Americans to the Colonists. 

Classes will run on Sundays, Feb. 19, Feb. 26 and March 5, from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Tickets are $5 per person (cash only.) The class is open to both residents and non-residents. It is recommended that guests arrive by 1 p.m. to register for the class as this is a very popular event. 

Hoyt Farm Park Manager Jeff Gumin teaches a group about tree tapping at a previous event.
File photo by Greg Catalano/TBR News Media

“This is one of the best educational programs the Town of Smithtown offers and it’s one that every Long Islander should partake in. The techniques used to make maple syrup are a part of our history that should be treasured for all time. Jeff Gumin, Sheryl Brook and the team at Hoyt go above and beyond in teaching this demonstration. It’s an unforgettable experience, which I highly recommend for the whole family,” said Town of Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim.

The maple sugaring program is a demonstration, encompassing the history of Native American early life, how maple sugaring was originally discovered, all the way up to the modern day process. An interactive portion of the program enlists the help of younger students to teach the anatomy of the tree, the importance of chlorophyll, and the role of photosynthesis in making maple syrup. 

The Hoyt Farm Nature Preserve maple sugaring program is unique in that Black Walnut trees are also tapped for sugaring, in addition to making maple syrup from Maple trees. Maple sugaring season is approximately three weeks out of the year. In order to produce the sweetest sap, weather conditions must be below freezing at night and over 40 degrees during the day. 

The maple sugaring program began in the late 1970’s, and started with one class. It is now a full blown family-oriented interactive experience, available to the general public, (not restricted to Smithtown residents) appropriate for all age groups. School classes, girl scouts, boy scout troops, kids and adults of all ages are welcome and encouraged to take advantage of this unforgettable experience. 

Hoyt Farm is located at 200 New Highway in Commack. For more information, call 631-543-7804.

METRO photo
Exercise is only one part of the weight loss equation

By David Dunaief, M.D.

Dr. David Dunaief

Exercise has benefits for a wide range of medical conditions, from insomnia, fatigue, depression and cognitive decline to chronic kidney disease, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. But will it help you lose weight? 

While exercise equipment and gym membership ads emphasize this in January, exercise without dietary changes may not help many people lose weight, no matter what the intensity or the duration (1). If it does help, it may only modestly reduce fat mass and weight for the majority of people. However, it may be helpful with weight maintenance.

Ultimately, it may be more important to reconsider what you are eating than to succumb to the rationalization that you can eat with abandon and work it off later.

Does exercise help with weight loss?

The well-known weight-loss paradigm is that when more calories are burned than consumed, we will tip the scale in favor of weight loss. The greater the negative balance with exercise, the greater the loss. However, study results say otherwise. They show that in premenopausal women there was neither weight nor fat loss from exercise (2). This involved 81 women over a short duration, 12 weeks. All of the women were overweight to obese, although there was great variability in weight.

However, more than two-thirds of the women gained a mean of 1 kilogram, or 2.2 pounds, of fat mass by the end of the study. There were a few who gained 10 pounds of predominantly fat. A fair amount of variability was seen among the participants, ranging from significant weight loss to substantial weight gain. These women were told to exercise at the American College of Sports Medicine’s optimal level of intensity (3). This is to walk 30 minutes on a treadmill three times a week at 70 percent VO2max — maximum oxygen consumption during exercise. This is a moderately intense pace.

The good news is that the women were in better aerobic shape by the end of the study. Also, women who had lost weight at the four-week mark were more likely to continue to do so by the end of the study.

Other studies have shown modest weight loss. For instance, in a meta-analysis involving 14 randomized controlled trials, results showed that there was a disappointing amount of weight loss with exercise alone (4). In six months, patients lost a mean of 1.6 kilograms, or 3.5 pounds, and at 12 months, participants lost 1.7 kilograms, or about 3.75 pounds.

Does exercise help with weight maintenance?

Exercise may help with weight maintenance, according to observational studies. Premenopausal women who exercised at least 30 minutes a day were significantly less likely to regain lost weight (5). When exercise was added to diet, women were able to maintain 30 percent more weight loss than with diet alone after a year in a prospective study (6).

Does exercise help with disease?

As a simple example of exercise’s impact on disease, let’s look at chronic kidney disease (CKD), which affects approximately 15 percent of U.S. adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (7).

Trial results showed that walking regularly could reduce the risk of kidney replacement therapy and death in patients who have moderate to severe CKD, stages 3-5 (8). Yes, this includes stage 3, which most likely is asymptomatic. There was a 21 percent reduction in the risk of kidney replacement therapy and a 33 percent reduction in the risk of death when walkers were compared to non-walkers.

Walking had an impressive impact, and results were based on a dose-response curve. In other words, the more frequently patients walked during the week, the better the probability of preventing complications. Those who walked between one and two times per week had 17 and 19 percent reductions in death and kidney replacement therapy, respectively, while those who walked at least seven times per week saw 44 and 59 percent reductions in death and kidney replacement. These are substantial results. The authors concluded that the effectiveness of walking on CKD was independent of kidney function, age or other diseases.

As you can see, there are many benefits to exercise; however, food choices will have a greater impact on weight and body composition. The good news: exercise can help maintain weight loss and is extremely beneficial for preventing progression of chronic diseases, such as CKD.

By all means, exercise, but to lose weight, also focus on consuming nutrient-dense foods instead of calorie-dense foods that you may not be able to exercise away.

References:

(1) uptodate.com. (2) J Strength Cond Res. 2015 Feb;29(2):297-304. (3) ACSM.org. (4) Am J Med. 2011;124(8):747. (5) Obesity (Silver Spring). 2010;18(1):167. (6) Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1997;21(10):941. (7) cdc.gov. (8) Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2014 Jul;9(7):1183-1189.

Dr. David Dunaief is a speaker, author and local lifestyle medicine physician focusing on the integration of medicine, nutrition, fitness and stress management. For further information, visit www.medicalcompassmd.com or consult your personal physician.

In honor of its 30th anniversary, Groundhog Day returns to select theaters nationwide on Feb. 2 and Feb. 5, courtesy of Fathom Events and Columbia Pictures.

Bill Murray in a scene from the film.

Snowed in during a trip to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to cover the annual Groundhog Day festivities, television weatherman Phil Connors (Bill Murray) finds himself stuck in time, endlessly repeating February 2nd. His world is inhabited by the same people every day, but they don’t know Groundhog Day is repeating itself. That gives him a certain advantage: He can find out what a woman is looking for in a man, and then the “next” day behave in exactly the right way to impress her. Luckily there is a woman close by to practice on. She’s Rita (Andie MacDowell), Phil’s long-suffering producer, who has had to put up with his tantrums, demands and surliness. Gradually Phil is able to see the error of his ways and improve his behavior until, finally, a Groundhog Day dawns when she finally likes him.

Locally, the film will be screened at Island 16 Cinema de Lux in Holtsville, AMC Stony Brook 17 and Farmingdale Multiplex Cinemas on Feb. 2 at 7 p.m. and on Feb. 5 at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.

To purchase tickets in advance, visit www.fathomevents.com.

Photo from Whaling Museum of Cold Spring Harbor

The Whaling Museum & Education Center, 301 Main St., Cold Spring Harbor has announced it will host a new book club beginning in February. Titled Beyond the Book, the book club will  dive deeper into stories through connections with the museum’s historic collections.

The Whaling Museum invites adults to read at home and then join us at the Museum for book club discussions and educator-led talks that use the museum’s collection to make meaningful connections to the texts. In addition, registrants will receive a brief video at the start of the month presenting a  discussion question and a highlight from the museum’s collection in relation to it. 

“History offers readers the opportunity to relive so many adventures, stories, and experiences. Our museum ‘s 6,000-item collection can help bring a deeper level of understanding and relatability about the past. We are excited to expand our ongoing partnerships with nearby libraries to increase adult programming for locals,” said Nomi Dayan, Executive Director of The Whaling Museum.

The debut session will take place on Thursday, Feb. 23 and features the book Whaling Captains of Color: America’s First Meritocracy by Skip Finley. In perfect timing with Black History Month and African American Read-In Month, this book provides a fascinating look into the lesser-known lives of African American whaling captains and is the perfect segue to the museum’s new special exhibit, From Sea to Shining Sea: Whalers of the African Diaspora. 

During the book club meeting a museum educator will guide the discussion and share special components of this exhibit relating to and expanding on the text from the book. 

On Thursday, March 23, Beyond the Book will feature In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick. This book details the loss of the whaleship Essex in 1820, the event which inspired the quintessential book Moby Dick. 

Readers are invited to get up close with the heart of this story by exploring the museum’s historic whaleboat — the only fully equipped whaling vessel with its original gear on display in New York — which truly brings the book’s theme to light. An educator-led talk and discussion will leave readers with a clear understanding of what it means to live on a whaleboat for weeks, even months at time.

On Thursday, April 27, the book club will feature Under the Black Flag: The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the Pirates by David Cordingly. This book explores the golden age of piracy and the truth behind many pirate legends. The educator-led talk and discussion will highlight the life of Huntingtonian Enoch Conklin (1763-ca.1815) a privateer during the War of 1812 as well as a ship builder, sailor and captain. Artifacts relating to Conklin’s life will be showcased for participants to see and explore.

Each book club meeting will start at 6:30 p.m. and is approximately 1 hour long. Coffee, tea and cookies will be served.

Beyond the Book club sessions are free for museum members and patrons of the museum’s partner libraries. All others may attend for $15 per session. Register at www.cshwhalingmuseum.org/bookclub. For more information, call 631-367-3418.

This article originally appeared in TBR News Media’s Prime Times supplement on Jan. 26.

Holtsville Hal and his handler, Greg Drossel, during a previous Groundhog Day celebration. Photo by Kristen D'Andrea/Town of Brookhaven

By Heidi Sutton

“Well, it’s Groundhog Day, again.” — quote from Groundhog Day (1993)

Pennsylvania may have the legendary groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, but here in Suffolk County we have our very own prognosticator of prognosticators, Holtsville Hal. The cute little rodent with his buck teeth and short bushy tail will be the star of the day as the Holtsville Ecology Site & Animal Preserve celebrates Groundhog Day with a special event on Feb. 2. Hundreds will gather to hear Brookhaven Highway Superintendent Daniel P. Losquadro announce Holtsville Hal’s famous forecast. 

According to tradition, if a groundhog sees its shadow after stirring from hibernation on Groundhog Day, there will be six more weeks of winter weather; if not, spring should arrive early. Superintendent Losquadro will reveal Hal’s prognostication at approximately 7:25 a.m.

“Our annual Groundhog Day celebration is an enjoyable tradition for many local families,” said Superintendent Losquadro in a press release. “I’m always hopeful Hal will predict an early spring to help my snow removal budget, but either way this is a much-anticipated event each year in Brookhaven Town.”

“Holtsville Hal’s prognostication is anxiously anticipated every year and it’s always a relief when he predicts an early spring. Let’s hope that he doesn’t see his shadow on Groundhog Day and we can look forward to a short winter season,” added Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine.

Although he’s sure to be the center of attention, Holtsville Hal will not be the only animal available for viewing on Feb. 2. Following the ceremony, residents are welcome to enjoy some free hot chocolate and visit the more than 100 non-releasable, wild or injured animals residing at the Animal Preserve, including its latest resident, Leonardo “Leo” DiCatprio, the Eurasian Lynx, from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. 

The Preserve is also home to a buffalo, black bear, bobcat, coatamundi, hybrid wolves, an artic fox, goats, horses, pigs, cows, alpaca, deer and many more.

Gates will open at the Holtsville Ecology Site & Animal Preserve, 249 Buckley Road, Holtsville, at 7 a.m.; parking is free. 

Residents are asked to arrive as close to 7 a.m. as possible to get a good view of Hal. Call 631-451-5330 for more information.