From left, Richelle Rugolo and Debbie Loggia (Photo from Jefferson's Ferry)
Jefferson’s Ferry in South Setauket recognized two employees for their outstanding commitment and exceptional care and leadership at the award-winning life plan community located at One Jefferson Ferry Drive. Director of Nursing Richelle Rugolo was named Manager of the Year and Certified Nursing Assistant Debbie Loggia was named Employee of the Year. The announcement was made by Jefferson’s Ferry CEO Bob Caulfield.

“2020, though one of the most challenging we’ve faced due to COVID-19, showcased the caliber, dedication, and heart of our employees,” said Caulfield. “Individuals like Richelle and Debbie protect and care for our residents, inspire our teams, and exceed the high standards we set for ourselves as a premier life plan community.”

Rugolo has served as the director of nursing at Jefferson’s Ferry for six years. Under her leadership, Jefferson’s Ferry has resulted in an overall 5 Star Rating by ​The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and was named a “Best Of” nursing home by U.S. News & World Report.

“Richelle consistently strives for exceptional outcomes and manages performance to the highest standards which are reflected in the results of our third-party satisfaction surveys and NY State Department of Health surveys,” said Caulfield. “She’s a respected professional whose sound leadership created a safe haven for both residents and staff.”

Loggia joined Jefferson’s Ferry as a certified nursing assistant in 2011. “Debbie is a dedicated and respected member of the nursing team, who cares for residents with a smile and a positive attitude,” said Caulfield.

Residents and families express their respect and appreciation for Debbie through surveys and positive messages, and recognize her as an advocate, always trying to better accommodate residents’ needs.

From left, Branch Manger Hope Kinney; Retail District Manager Michael Billia; President & Chief Operating Officer Domenick Cama; Retail Market Executive Ana Oliveira; Manuel London, Dean, Stony Brook University’s College of Business; and John Tsunis. Photos by Leah Dunaief

Investors Bank of Setauket presented a check in the amount of $25,000 to the Stony Brook School of Business on Jan. 19. The donation will be used to fund the College of Business’s Pandemic Shift program to support small businesses in Suffolk County as they pivot, re-start, and expand.

Domenick Cama

“So many of our small businesses have been hurt by this pandemic.  Supporting Stony Brook brings help and hope to these businesses.  We believe their progress is our responsibility as a member of the Long Island community,” said Domenick Cama, President and COO of Investors Bank.

A division of Suffolk Forward, spearheaded by County Executive Steve Bellone, the program provides workshops for business owners, virtual internships for students to work with businesses, pro-bono faculty consulting, technology support from Stony Brook’s Office of Economic Development, and faculty research on the effects of the pandemic on businesses and consumers. 

Each session consists of four interactive 90-minute sessions via Zoom. For more information, please visit



Rigatoni with shrimp at Pasta Pasta in Port Jefferson. Photo by Kimberly Brown

By Kimberly Brown

Long Island Restaurant Week has created a new spin on its yearly week-long dining event — but this year takeout will be the focus due to the precautions of COVID-19.

The event is running from Jan. 24 through 31 and select restaurants will feature a $25, $35 or $42 three-course prix fixe available for takeout. Customers are still allowed to dine in if they choose to do so.  

Steve Haweeli, president of LIRW, emphasized the importance of the changes made for the event this year.

“This campaign stresses takeout,” he said. “It’s safer from a COVID-19 standpoint, and allows restaurants to save tables for those who dine in.”

A tasty calamari appetizer at Pasta Pasta. Photo by Kimberly Brown

One of the four participating restaurants in Port Jefferson is Pasta Pasta, a popular Italian trattoria that is offering the three-course prix fixe for $35. Owner, Debra Bowling, said one of the good things to come out of the pandemic was the loyalty from her customers, and knowing the support she has from them.

“The customers would come up to order takeout and say, ‘Are we helping? Are you OK?’” she said.

Bowling added that at the beginning of the pandemic, customers would visit the restaurant and give money to the workers in the kitchen because they knew their hours were cut.

“It’s so overwhelming,” she said. “Sometimes I get choked up. It’s a very warm feeling.”

Some of her customer’s favorites include the tortelloni stuffed with six cheeses, filet mignon, wasabi calamari and the bacon-wrapped shrimp.

“We have customers that come in for the same thing every week,” Bowling added. “It’s so funny — it never changes.” 

Wave Seafood & Steak and The Club a Public Steakhouse, are also participating in LIRW. While both are operated by Crest Hospitality, the restaurants have their own ambience.

Wave Seafood overlooks the marina, and The Club a Public Steakhouse is located on a cliff over-looking the Long Island Sound. Both spots will be offering the $35 three-course prix fixe for take-out or dine in as well. 

Outdoor insulated igloos are good balance between indoor and outside dining at Danfords. Photo by Kimberly Brown

Michael Lang, vice president of food and beverage with Crest Hospitality, explained the attributes that he considers make his restaurants stand out.

“Three simple reasons — the food, the service and the views.” he said, “We provide a great experience for people who come, and for $35 this is a great opportunity if you haven’t been to our restaurants before.”

Learning to roll with the punches of the pandemic, both restaurants also provide enclosed, heated, outdoor seating. Wave Seafood offers insulated igloos to rent, which are located on the deck. 

“Every day you learn something new,” Lang said. “You learn to manage day-to-day and go with the flow to make it work as best as you can, and we have had a lot of good successes come out of that.” 

Ruvo East is the fourth Port Jefferson restaurant joining The Club, Wave and Pasta Pasta with a $35 prix-fixe menu.

To see menus or find other restaurants across Long Island participating, visit


Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar on Jan. 4 announced the official launch of its 5th annual Above and “BEE”yond Teacher Essay Contest, which recognizes top teachers – as nominated by their students – by rewarding them with a sponsorship check and end-of-year class party. The contest is being offered at Applebee’s restaurants in Long Island owned and operated by local franchisee Doherty Enterprises.

Applebee’s will award two deserving teachers, one in Nassau County and one in Suffolk County, with a $500 sponsorship check to use toward their classroom for the upcoming 2021-2022 school year, along with an end-of-year party for their current class*! To nominate a teacher and enter the contest, students must submit an essay in-person at their local Applebee’s explaining why their teacher deserves to be Applebee’s “Teacher of the Year.” As an additional incentive, students who enter an essay will also receive a free ice cream certificate** for later use. Essay submissions are limited to one per student and will be accepted at participating Applebee’s restaurants from Monday, January 4 through Sunday March 7, no later than 10pm. Winners will be announced on Monday, April 12 and end-of-year parties will be thrown before Sunday, June 27. If end-of-year parties are not viable, class parties will be replaced with two Dinner for Four certificates.

“We’re excited to announce the launch of our fifth annual Above and BEEyond Teacher Essay Contest at our Long Island restaurants,” said Kurt Pahlitzsch, director of operations, Applebee’s Long Island. “Our restaurants are committed to giving back to the local community now more than ever. We’re honored to support local schoolteachers who have transitioned from in-classroom teaching to online teaching, as Applebee’s wants to recognize their dedication and hard work amidst the pandemic.”

Applebee’s Above and “BEE”yond Teacher Essay Contest entries will be accepted at the following Applebee’s locations owned and operated by Doherty Enterprises on Long Island in: Nassau County: Baldwin, Bellmore, Bethpage, Elmont, New Hyde Park, Rosedale, Valley Stream and Westbury and in Suffolk County:  Bohemia, Brentwood, Commack, East Farmingdale, East Islip, Farmingville, Huntington, Lake Grove, Lindenhurst, Miller Place, Patchogue, Riverhead and Shirley.

*One winner will be selected from both Nassau and Suffolk counties. Please note, essay submissions from the 2020-2021 school year will also be included in this year’s voting. Prizes are subject to change based on COVID-19 restrictions. If end-of-year parties are not viable, class parties will be replaced with two Dinner for Four certificates.

**Offer valid only at Doherty Enterprises owned and operated Applebee’s® locations in LI. Limit one per person. May not be redeemed on day of purchase. Cannot be combined with any other offers.

Bob's Stores in Selden. Photo by Heidi Sutton

Bob’s Store in Selden may be closing its doors but it’s not ready to call it quits. An employee at the 17 Middle Country Road location confirmed that the business is moving next door into the former A.C. Moore Arts and Crafts location at 15 Middle Country Road by the end of February.

The large department store, which sells clothing and shoes, is located in the College Plaza Shopping Center which also houses ShopRite, Panera Bread, Duck Donuts and the Selden Post Office.

It is rumored that the national crafts and home decor chain Hobby Lobby has expressed interest in the space.

Photo from Councilman LaValle's office

Brookhaven Town Councilman Kevin LaValle (center) attended a ribbon cutting for Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen in Centereach on Nov. 23. Located at 1770 Middle Country Road in front of Island Thrift, the fast-food chain is known for its signature chicken, fried shrimp, biscuits and most recently, its fried chicken sandwiches.

“I was happy to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony for Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen … I want to thank them for giving me the grand tour of their new building and letting me try some of their delicious food, and I wish them the best of luck with their new business!” said Councilman LaValle.

In addition to the Centereach location, there are currently nine other Popeyes locations in Suffolk County including Patchogue, Shirley, Lindenhurst, Bay Shore, Huntington, Riverhead, Brentwood, Deer Park and Coram.

Hours for the Centereach restaurant are 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Mondays and 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. on Tuesdays. For more information, call 631-648-8736

Jefferson’s Ferry CEO Bob Caulfield and Jefferson’s Ferry board member and Town of Brookhaven Councilwoman Valerie Cartright at the Dec. 10 groundbreaking. Photo from Jefferson's Ferry

South Setauket retirement community Jefferson’s Ferry broke ground Dec. 10 on a $89 million expansion and renovation project creating 60 new apartment-style homes and more amenities to its One Jefferson Ferry Drive facility.

Once completed, the 165,000 square foot project will add 60 new independent living one- and two-bedroom, plus den apartment homes with open floor plans to Jefferson’s Ferry’s existing 220 apartments and 28 cottages. Plans also call for a new marketplace café, bistro-bar, destination dining room with alternating types of cuisines. Part of the project includes renovations, additions and the construction of a new 28,520 square foot building.

In a release, Jefferson’s Ferry CEO Bob Caulfield said the new facility will “enhance the lifestyle and experience for current residents and appeal to the desires and needs of a whole new generation of Long Islanders planning for retirement.”

The new project is partially due to tax-exempt bonds secured from the Town of Brookhaven Local Development Corporation. At its Oct. 20 public hearing for the proposed bonds, the LDC said the bonds were expected to be $100,000,000 and up to and not to exceed $125,000,000. The bond issuer is also expected to provide additional financial assistance with mortgage recording taxes exemptions for financing or refinancing of the project, according to the hearing minutes.

“The Brookhaven Local Development Corporation is pleased to play a small part in the expansion of this outstanding residence and health care facility,” Frederick C. Braun III, chairman of the Brookhaven LDC, said in a release. 

Last August, the retirement community was awarded low-cost energy by the ReCharge NY energy program to support the multi-million dollar expansion and renovation project. 

Jefferson’s Ferry currently employs 350 people and is expected to add 41 jobs in exchange for 435 kilowatts of power for a 7-year period. 

“The cost savings are significant to Jefferson’s Ferry, and, in turn, to residents living on fixed incomes,” Caulfield said. “Reducing our energy costs through this program goes a long way in helping us control the amount of fees we charge our members, giving them peace of mind about their future.” 

The new Healthy Living Center will incorporate a modern and fully equipped gym and fitness room with access to professional trainers, plus a state of the art wellness and rehabilitation center. Residents can continue to access preventive care from a team of wellness experts in audiology, internal medicine, cardiology, dentistry, podiatry, psychiatry and ear, nose and throat specialists. Lab services and assistance with making medical appointments and filling prescriptions are also available.

“Our community is designed for aging better for longer, whether you live in independent living, assisted living, memory care or skilled nursing,” Caulfield said.

The construction project includes an addition to the existing Vincent Bove Health Center, including a new assisted living building designed for residents living with Alzheimer’s dementia and other memory impairing diseases. Existing dining, activities and community spaces in the assisted living and the skilled nursing center will be renovated to allow more space in a kind of open air environment, according to Jefferson’s Ferry.

Flushing Bank in Shirley
 Flushing Bank in Islandia

Flushing Bank recently hosted two ribbon-cutting ceremonies at its new Islandia and Shirley locations in Suffolk County. These are two of the four locations resulting from the Bank’s recent acquisition of Empire National Bank.  Members of Flushing Bank’s management team were joined by several state and local elected officials at the event.

“I am extremely excited about the opportunity made possible by our recent acquisition of Empire National Bank to expand our Long Island presence and introduce Flushing Bank to the Suffolk County market. We look forward to building upon the relationships that have been established with our customers and expanding our banking services to the individuals, families, and businesses in the surrounding areas,” said John R. Buran, President and CEO of Flushing Bank.

“As a community bank, we recognize the importance of giving back and demonstrating our commitment to the communities we serve. And, we are extremely excited to be a part of their economic recovery, growth, and development,” he said.

In top photo, joining Flushing Bank’s ribbon-cutting at the Shirley branch were, from left, Thomas Buonaiuto, Senior EVP, Chief of Staff and Deposit Channel Executive, Flushing Bank; Pat Mezeuk, Director of Government Banking, Flushing Bank; Dorothy Lamboy, Assistant Manager, Flushing Bank; Mike Bingold, Senior EVP and Chief Retail and Client Development Officer, Flushing Bank; John Schneidawin, Suffolk County Department of Economic Development and Planning; NYS Assemblywoman-Elect Jodi Giglio, District 2, and Town of Riverhead Councilwoman; Board of Education President Robert Vecchio, William Floyd School District; Suffolk County Clerk Judith Pascale; Krista Classie, Assistant Branch Manager, Flushing Bank; Bill Guiducci, Branch Manager, Flushing Bank; John R. Buran, President and CEO, Flushing Bank; Ana Ortiz, representing New York State Senator Monica Martinez, District 3; Town of Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine; Town of Brookhaven Councilman Daniel Panico, District 6; Tim Rothang, representing Suffolk County Legislator Rudy Sunderman, District 3; Beth Wahl, President, Chamber of Commerce of the Mastics & Shirley; Rhonda Pierson-Delorenzo, VP / Long Island Area Manager, Flushing Bank; and Bill Gianakos, Director of Retail Banking, Flushing Bank.

In photo on right, joining Flushing Bank’s ribbon-cutting at the Islandia branch were (left to right): Tara Ramdeo, Customer Care Associate, Flushing Bank; Thomas Buonaiuto, Senior EVP, Chief of Staff and Deposit Channel Executive, Flushing Bank; Town of Islip Councilwoman Mary Kate Mullen; John Schneidawin, Suffolk County Department of Economic Development and Planning; Suffolk County Legislator Tom Cilmi, District 10; John R. Buran, President and CEO, Flushing Bank; Dorothy Overton, VP / Branch Manager, Flushing Bank; Mike Bingold, Senior EVP and Chief Retail and Client Development Officer, Flushing Bank; Ana Ortiz, representing New York State Senator Monica Martinez, District 3; Rhonda Pierson-Delorenzo, VP / Long Island Area Manager, Flushing Bank; Bill Gianakos, Director of Retail Banking, Flushing Bank; Town of Islip Councilman James O’Connor; Pat Mezeuk, Director of Government Banking, Flushing Bank; and Pat Tiffany, SVP, Marketing Director, Flushing Bank.

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Photo from Huntington Hospital

Huntington Hospital has been recognized with American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline gold plus award for its high-quality care of people with severe heart attacks. The hospital earned this distinction by providing life-saving, time-sensitive patients who experience ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI), the most serious type of heart attack caused by a blockage of blood flow to the heart. National guidelines recommend that balloon angioplasty be performed within 90 minutes or less of arrival to the hospital. 

This is the first time the hospital has achieved the gold designation; Huntington Hospital received the silver award last year. 

“This achievement was made possible through Huntington Hospital’s partnership between its emergency department and cardiac catheterization laboratory teams, as well as our strong relationship with our community first responders,” said Lawrence Ong, MD, vice president of cardiology for Northwell Health’s Eastern region and chairman of cardiology at Huntington Hospital. The hospital has two cardiac catheterization laboratories as well as two electrophysiology areas

Treatment done this quickly has been made possible in part through the hospital’s use of the LifeNet system, which allows first responders to securely send important health information Electrocardiograms (ECG) to Huntington Hospital’s emergency cardiac team so they can mobilize to help the incoming patient.

For more information about Huntington Hospital’s cardiac services, call 631-351-2000.


John R. Buran, President and CEO, Flushing Bank (center) presents the light show tickets to Ray Hopp, Deputy Director, Colonial Youth & Family Services (fourth from left). Joining them were Mike Bingold, Senior EVP and Chief Retail and Client Development Officer, Flushing Bank (third from left); Thomas Buonaiuto, Senior EVP, Chief of Staff and Deposit Channel Executive, Flushing Bank (fourth from right); Samantha Soccorso, Youth Worker, Colonial Youth & Family Services (third from right); and Colonial Youth & Family Services volunteers Tommy Pirello (left), Trishelle Cattell (second from left), Philip Wildner (second from right), and Alexus Rountree (right).

Flushing Bank donated tickets for 25 carloads to the Smith Point Light Show, presented by the Girl Scouts of Suffolk County, to Colonial Youth & Family Services. The presentation took place on December 18 at the Flushing Bank’s branch located at 1044 William Floyd Parkway, Shirley, NY. Members of Flushing Bank’s management team were joined by Ray Hopp, Deputy Director of Colonial Youth & Family Services. The tickets will be given to local families free of charge to brighten their holiday season.

“As a community bank, we recognize the importance of giving back and demonstrating our commitment to the communities we serve. We are new to the Suffolk County market, however because of our recent acquisition of Empire National Bank and its long-standing relationship with the Girl Scouts of Suffolk County, we are a proud sponsor of the Smith Point Light Show. Our sponsorship package included tickets for twenty-five carloads. Given what a tough year this has been for all of us, we wanted to spread a little holiday cheer to the children and families who could use it most,” said John R. Buran, President and CEO of Flushing Bank. “We are happy that the Colonial Youth & Family Services will be able to provide an opportunity for those in need to see this spectacular event.”