Community

Pixabay photo

Get your farm fix in the off-season when the Huntington Winter Farmers Market returns every Sunday, Dec. 5 to March 27, 2022 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Located behind the senior center at 423 Park Ave., Huntington, the Market has provided Long Island residents with a direct source of local produce and goods during the winter months since 2010. Visitors will find items ranging from hydroponic greens to artisan breads and vegan treats and everything in between. For more information, call 631-944-2661.

Photo from WMHO

On Sunday, Dec. 5, participants of the Ward Melville Heritage Organization’s (WMHO) Holiday Tree Competition will bring festive cheer to the Stony Brook Village Center, 111 Main St., Stony Brook and decorate 50 premium balsam trees that will line the open-air center’s walkways at the 42nd annual Holiday Festival. 

One tree will be selected by votes from the public between Sunday, Dec. 5  and Monday, Dec. 20 to win a $150 gift certificate to Stony Brook Village and its establishments. 

The decorated trees will remain in the village for viewing until Jan. 3.

Sponsors include Roosevelt Investments, Damianos Realty Group, GSE Dynamics, Central Semiconductor Corp and Armor Pest Control.

To learn more about the Holiday Tree Competition, call the WMHO office at 631-751-2244.

METRO photo

Senator Mario R. Mattera (2nd Senate District), in cooperation with the Middle Country Public Library, is hosting the Stony Brook Cancer Center’s Mobile Mammography Van at the library’s Selden location.  This no-cost breast cancer-screening event will be held from 9 am to 4 pm on Monday, December 6th at the library, which is located at 575 Middle Country Road.

Stony Brook University Cancer Center operates and staffs the mobile van, which is supported by more than $3 million in funding from the New York State Department of Health.  The van provides convenient access to screening services for all women in our area to ensure they get the information and services needed to protect themselves from breast cancer.

This event is for women 40 and older who have not had a mammogram in the past year. To help ensure proper coordination of the event, residents are being asked to schedule an appointment by calling 631-638-4135.

According to information provided by Stony Brook Cancer Center, most screenings are no cost to the patient since the cost of mammograms are covered by most insurance plans.  Any resident without insurance will be referred to the New York State Cancer Services Program.

“Thank you to the Stony Brook Cancer Center and the Middle Country Public Library for taking part in this important event.  Hopefully, this will help residents who may face challenges that prevent them from accessing this very important regular screening get the information they need to protect their health.  Early detection is the most critical protection in the fight against breast cancer and I hope everyone who needs this service will join us on December 6th,” stated Senator Mattera.

For more information on this important event, including eligibility requirements and directions to the library, please visit Senator Mattera’s website at mattera.nysenate.gov.

The tree at Heritage Park in Mount Sinai will be lit on Dec. 5 at 5 p.m. File photo by Kyle Barr

By Heidi Sutton

Enjoy caroling, treats, tree lightings, special visits from Santa, and more on the North Shore this weekend. Check next week’s TIMES … and dates for tree lightings taking place on Dec. 11 and 12.

Cold Spring Harbor

The Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery, 1660 Route 25A, Cold Spring Harbor will host a tree lighting ceremony on Dec. 4 from 5 to 7 p.m. Santa Claus will light the hatchery’s Christmas Tree at 5:30 p.m. Free admission. Suggested donation of $10 per family. 516- 692-6768.

Greenlawn

The Greenlawn Civic Association hosts a will host a “Meet at the Tree” Christmas Tree Lighting on Dec. 4 at 3:30 p.m. at the Harborfields Public Library Front Circle. Join them for a celebration that includes holiday music, hot cocoa and treats, and a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus with the Greenlawn Fire Department. A food/gift card drive will also take place to benefit HACO. www.greenlawncivic.org.

Kings Park

The Kings Park Chamber of Commerce hosts a Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Veterans Plaza, King Park on Dec. 4 at 4:15 p.m. Enjoy holiday music selections followed by invocation and welcome remarks from the chamber with hot chocolate and cookies for all. 631-269-7678

Mount Sinai

Join the Heritage Trust and the Mount Sinai Fire Department for a Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Heritage Park, 633 Mount Sinai-Coram Road, Mount Sinai on Dec. 5 at 5 p.m. Listen to carols, enjoy hot chocolate and visit with Santa. 631-509-0882.

St. James

The St. James Chamber of Commerce invites the community to a Christmas Tree Lighting at Deepwells Farm County Park, 2 Taylor Lane, St. James on Dec. 4 at 4:30 p.m. with holiday music, pictures with Santa, cookies and hot chocolate. 631-584-8510.

Stony Brook

The Ward Melville Heritage Organization hosts a Holiday Tree Lighting at the Stony Brook Village Center Green, 111 Main St., Stony Brook on Dec. 5 at 5:30 p.m. as part of the WMHO’s 42nd annual Holiday Festival. 631-751-2244.

Wading River

Join The Shoppes at East Wind, 5768 Route 25A, Wading River for a Holiday Tree Lighting on Dec. 4 from 3 to 7 p.m. Stop by to put a letter in Santa’s mailbox, enjoy music and dancing, and more holiday fun including holiday shopping at their Winter Fest. Santa arrives on a Fire Truck to light the tree and take free photo with families. Santa will also be at the Shoppes on Dec. 11 and 18 from 11 a.m to 5 p.m. 631-929-3500

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

Port Jefferson will host its 25th annual Charles Dickens Festival today and Dec. 5 starting at 10 a.m. The village will magically transform into the Dickensian era with streets filled with roaming characters such as Father Christmas, Dickens Mayor, Scrooge, the Town Crier and the beloved chimney sweeps.

Featuring concerts, train display, magic shows, theater, Festival of Trees, ice skating and much more with a Grand East Main Street opening parade on Dec. 4 at 11 a.m. and a Pickwick’s Puppet closing parade on Dec. 5 at 5 p.m. Most attractions are free of charge, so everyone – from the very young to the young at heart – can join in the fun.

Visit portjeff.com/dickens for schedule of events.

Make a Farmhouse Style Holiday Ornament at Benner's Farm this weekend. Photo from Benner's Farm
Programs

Holiday Ornament workshop

Benner’s Farm, 56 Gnarled Hollow Road, E. Setauket hosts a winter workshop for ages 4 to 9 titled Farmhouse Style Holiday Ornaments on Dec. 4 from 10 a.m. to noon and again from 12:45 to 2:45 p.m. Come spend time on the historic farm making crafts for your holidays! Each child will create and take home several different of their own ornaments, make a snow globe, and take a farm tour at the workshop. $40 per child. To register, call 689-8172 or visit www.bennersfarm.com.

Snow Globe workshop

The Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum, 180 Little Neck Road, Centerport presents A Child’s Life at Eagle’s Nest on Dec. 4 from 10 a.m. to noon. Learn about life at the Vanderbilt mansion, play games, listen to the music of the 1930s, and make a dreamy snow globe. For grades K to 4. $20 per child. Register at www.vanderbiltmuseum.org.

Counting Critters

Sunken Meadow State Park, Route 25A and Sunken Meadow Parkway, Kings Park hosts a class for ages 3 to 5, Counting Critters, on Dec. 4 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Children and their parents will connect with nature through short walks, animal visitors, and crafts. $4 per child. To register, visit Eventbrite.com/ #NatureEdventures.

Santa, Trains & Sleigh Rides

Historic Longwood Estate, Longwood Road and Smith Road, Ridge present a special holiday program for children ages 12 and under on Dec. 4 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Explore the grounds of the estate on a old fashioned sleigh ride, view two large train displays and enjoy roasted chestnuts and popcorn on an open fire. Children can visit with Santa (don’t forget your letter) and have family members take photos. Brookhaven’s Youth Bureau will be collecting new, unwrapped toys for children in need through their INTERFACE program. $5 per child. To register, call 924-1820.

Ocean Creature Encounters  

The Whaling Museum. 301 Main St.. Cold Spring Harbor presents Ocean Creature Encounters on Dec. 4 from 1 to 3 p.m. Roll up your sleeves and get ready to meet live critters we share the Long Island Sound with in this family drop-in event with special guests from The Waterfront Center. Check out real whale bones, shark jaws and other artifacts from the museum’s collections, go on a scavenger hunt, and create an ocean-tastic craft. Admission plus $10 per participant. Call 367-3418.

Children’s Birding Adventures

Children ages 4 to 10 and their caregivers are invited to join the Four Harbors Audubon Society for a Children’s Birding Adventure at Frank Melville Memorial Park, 1 Old Field Road, Setauket on Saturday, Dec. 4 from 1 to 2 p.m. Take part in story time, a bird walk, and a bird-inspired activity. Enjoy some family fun while you learn about our feathered friends! Bring binoculars and meet at the entrance to the park, just past the rear of the post office. Free but preregistration is required by emailing [email protected] 

Polar Express Workshop

Children ages 3 to 8 are invited to join Benner’s Farm, 56 Gnarled Hollow Road, E. Setauket for an All Aboard The Benner’s Farm Polar Express Workshop on Dec. 5 from 10 a.m. to noon and again from 12:45 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. Come spend the day on the farm and BELIEVE. Visit all the farm animals and spread some holiday cheer, tour the gardens and take a ride on the tractor (train) around the farm. Each child will go home with some exclusive farm crafts and gifts! $40. To register, call 689-8172 or visit www.bennersfarm.com.

A Visit with Mailman Mark

The Miller Place-Mount Sinai Historical Society presents A Visit with Mailman Mark on Dec. 5 from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Children are invited to bring their pre-written letters for Santa to the old Miller Place Post Office at 75 North Country Road, Miller Place where Mailman Mark will send them to the North Pole. Enjoy refreshments, a vintage fire truck, crafts and story time. Each child will receive a letter from Santa delivered to their home. $12 per child. For more information, call 476-5742.

Family Hour Sundays

The Heckscher Museum of Art, 2 Prime Ave., Huntington will host a Family Hour Sunday on Sunday, Dec. 5 from 1 to 2 p.m. Children ages 5 through 10 are invited for a family-friendly art experience with Museum Educator Tami Wood!. Explore works of art in the Museum and create fun art projects. $10 per child, adults free. Registration is required by visiting www.heckscher.org. For more information, call 631-380-3230.

Where Did Everybody Go?

Sunken Meadow State Park, Route 25A and Sunken Meadow Parkway, Kings Park presents a family program, Where Did Everybody Go?, on Dec. 5 from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Winter is almost here, and you might have noticed fewer animals around! Don’t worry, they haven’t disappeared! Join the staff for a walk around the park as you discover some clever and resourceful ways animals survive the colder months. $4 per person. To register, visit Eventbrite.com and search for #NatureEdventures. 

Seashell Celebration 

The Whaling Museum. 301 Main St.. Cold Spring Harbor will host a Seashell Celebration and Ornament Workshop for ages 5 and up on Dec. 5 at 1 p.m. and again at 2 p.m. From clams to sea snails to nautilus squid, explore the wonderful world of shelled animals in this educator-led workshop. Find out how to identify shells local to Long Island, and decorate a special shell ornament to hang up at home during this festive time of year. Admission + $10 participant. Call 367-3418.

Hot Chocolate and Santa

Ballet Long Island, 1863 Pond Road, Ronkonkoma presents Hot Chocolate and Santa on Dec. 5 at 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. Enjoy a Christmas-themed performance while being served hot chocolate and cookies, decorate a Christmas ornament and take photos with Santa (digital photos emailed to you for an extra fee)Tickets are $20 adults, $10 children and seniors. Call 737-1964.

Theater

‘Barnaby Saves Christmas’

The holidays have arrived at Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson with Barnaby Saves Christmas from Nov. 20 to Dec. 26. Come join Santa, Barnaby, Franklynne and all of their friends for a wonderful holiday treat. As Santa’s littlest elf and his reindeer friend set off on their journey to save Christmas, they meet some new friends along the way and learn the true meaning of Christmas, Hanukkah, and the holiday season. All seats are $10. To order, call 928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com. 

‘Frosty’

Tis the season! The John W. Engeman Theater, 250 Main St., Northport presents Frosty from Nov. 21 to Jan. 2. Join Jenny and Frosty on their chilly adventures as they try to save the town of Chillsville from mean old Ebenezer Pierpot and an evil machine that will melt all the snow. Jenny calls on her Dad, the mayor, and all of you to help her save her home, get Frosty to the North Pole, and make this holiday season a Winter Wonderland for one and all! Tickets are $20. To order, call 261-2900 or visit www.engemantheater.com. See review on page B22.

‘Frozen Jr.’

Do you want to build a snowman? The Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts, 2 E. Main St., Smithtown will present Frozen Jr. from Nov. 20 to Jan. 17 with a sensory friendly performance on Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. A story of true love and acceptance between sisters, Frozen Jr. expands upon the emotional relationship and journey between Princesses Anna and Elsa. When faced with danger, the two discover their hidden potential and the powerful bond of sisterhood. With a cast of beloved characters and loaded with magic, adventure, and plenty of humor, Frozen Jr. is sure to thaw even the coldest heart! Tickets are $25. To order, call 724-3700 or visit www.smithtownpac.org.

Film

Polar Express screening

The Port Jefferson Station-Terryville Chamber of Commerce will host screenings of The Polar Express in the Chamber Train Car, corner of Nesconset Highway and Route 112, Port Jefferson Station on Fridays, Dec. 3, 10 and 17 at 6 p.m.; Saturdays, Dec. 11 and 18 at noon, 3 and 6 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 5 at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. $15 per person includes popcorn, a cookie and hot cocoa. To reserve your tickets, visit www.pjstchamber.com.

Soldiers and Sailors Building

The Huntington Historical Society invites the community to an opening reception for its newest exhibit titled Holiday House Tour in Miniature: Dollhouses from 1920 to 2020 at the Huntington History & Decorative Arts Museum in the Soldiers and Sailors Building, 228 Main St., Huntington on Sunday, Dec. 5 from 3 to 5 p.m. Also on view is an exhibit titled Remembering a Huntington Hero: Peter H. Fleury. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, call 631-351-3244.

Photo by David Ackerman

By Leah S. Dunaief

Leah Dunaief

Since we were thinking of all we are grateful for this Thanksgiving, I can now add one more item to the list. It seems that government officials have finally noticed how important newspapers and media, especially local news media, are, and they want to help us survive. In fact, attitudes on the part of media members toward government have also changed in the last couple of years, thanks strangely to the coronavirus pandemic.

The grim numbers tell the story. According to an article in this past Monday’s issue of The New York Times, there are now 200 counties in the United States without a newspaper. These are being referred to as newspaper deserts. More than 2100 have shut down since 2004. This is in part due to the rise in digital media that has broken the business model of advertising support for local newspapers, with the final blow delivered by COVID-19. According to the Pew Research Center, the number of journalists at newspapers fell to 31,000 last year from 71,000 in 2008.

At the same time, in order to stay afloat, many newspapers have accepted help from the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program with forgivable loans, assuaging fears of publishers of an inherent conflict of interest in accepting federal help. After all, newspapers are considered the watchdogs of the powerful, including government, on behalf of the people. We have been leery of any quid pro quo by accepting government help until now. But there have been no restrictions or demands put on news gatherers in this program, proving that such support can work if properly administered, and those loans have doubtlessly saved the number of shuttered newspapers from being greater.

“I don’t think we’d be having this conversation [about government support for local media] if it were not for the impact of Covid and the role that it played in accelerating challenges the [news] sector has faced,” said Damian Radcliff, a professor at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communications in The Times.

A tax credit for local newspapers was one of the main items in the Local Journalism Sustainability Act, a bipartisan bill that appeared before Congress in 2020 and was reintroduced this year. Among its supporters was local U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY1). When it stalled, it was then put into the latest $2.2 trillion package, as a payroll tax credit, the giant bill having passed the House and now awaits its fate at the hands of the Senate.

Why should the government help newspapers?

For starters, there is early precedent in United States history. The Postal Act of 1792 gave newspapers significantly cheaper mail rates. The maxim about an informed public being the cornerstone of democracy still holds. A free press is enshrined in the First Amendment, and the way to help pay for it was, and still is, by reduced postage. To this day, newspapers that are so designated because they carry a significant percentage of news, as opposed to only advertising, move at the rate of first class mail. 

As for local news that most directly affects everyday life, who but the local news outlets would routinely cover local school board, town board and civics meetings? It is in the local news where births, deaths. graduations and weddings are noted. Local student sports teams, student musicians and academic accomplishments are proudly published, as are local cultural events, exhibitions and fairs. In addition to holding local officials accountable, local newspapers define the boundaries of a community and strengthen its bonds.

Other ways that government can help news outlets include placing advertising from their various agencies. Such a program helped newspapers in New York City this past year for a total of some $10 million, at the behest of Mayor de Blasio. Although counties already advertise legal notices in newspapers, those are not usually equitably placed but rather are saved for the partisan papers by the party in control. A legislator in New Jersey suggested giving residents a $250 deduction on their taxes if they subscribed to a local news outlet.

I can tell you that were we to receive any sort of financial help from the government, it would go directly toward publishing more local news for you.

Just in time for the holidays, Theatre Three in Port Jefferson hosts its 2nd annual Toy and Gift Drive for Open Cupboard at Infant Jesus R.C. Church on Sunday, Dec. 5. Please note new drop off location! They will be collecting unwrapped toys and gifts at the old Infant Jesus Convent Building at 110 Hawkins Street, Port Jefferson from 9 a.m. to noon. Examples of needed items include puzzles, board games, dolls (baby, Barbie, Frozen), soccer balls, basketballs, arts and crafts, Legos, Paw Patrol, LOL Surprise, jewelry making kits and Beyblades. Call 631-938-6464 for further details.

On Nov. 21 the Town of Smithtown premiered War Stories, a documentary film devoted to the local heroes who served in combat throughout the various conflicts, at the Smithtown Center for Performing Arts. The production documenting the stories of local residents who enlisted to serve in the US Armed Forces during war time; from World War II to present day, will be available via Smithtown GTV and YouTube.

“This documentary is our way of saying ‘Thank You for Your Service.’ We hope that over time, we can build on this documentary, as a catalogue of stories from the story tellers themselves,” said Supervisor Ed Wehrheim.   “There’s an old saying that a soldier dies twice: once when he takes his last breath and again when he or she has been forgotten. Well this documentary is our oath to our veterans, our debt of honor, that you will never be forgotten.” 

The theatre was filled with family members of the 22 veterans, as well as members of the community, who wanted to show their support and gratitude for the men and women within our community who served to protect our nation’s freedoms. Residents filled two large boxes with non-perishable items for donation, which were delivered to the United Veterans Beacon House Food Pantry.

War Stories Cast (In order of appearance)

  • Bernard Nagel [ aviation machinist mate ] WWII

  • Jim “Red” Dowling [ 2nd lieutenant, 8th Army Air Corps ] WWII

  • Eddy Reddy [ 2nd lieutenant, 8th Army Air Corps ] WWII

  • Howard Laderwager [ US Navy hospital corpsman ] WWII

  • Anthony Romano [ US Army PFC ] Korean War | WWII Occupation

  • John R Steele [ US Navy Seaman ] Korean War

  • Robert Creighton [ US Navy Aerographer’s mate 3rd class ] Korean War

  • Nick Balducci [ United States Army 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team ] [ 82nd Airborne Regimental Combat Team ] Korean War

  • Salvatore Scarlato [ B Company, 1st Shore Party Battalion, 1st Marine Division – private ] Korean War

  • William Harnaiz US Army [ Fifth Regimental Combat Team ] Korean War

  • Frank D’Aversa [ United States Navy Lieutenant ] Vietnam War

  • Jack Toomey [ United States Army |  Specialist 4 ] Vietnam War

  • Ed Wehrheim [ US Navy Aviation Director 3 ] Vietnam War

  • Walter Zawol [ United States Marines Corporal ] Vietnam War

  • Kevin O’Hare [ United States Army 25th Infantry ] Vietnam War

  • Victor Noce  [ US Marine Corps Private First Class ] Vietnam War

  • Jack Stevens [ US Navy Electronic Technician 2nd Class ] Vietnam War

  • Bill Ponce [ US Army Full Bird Colonel ] Kosovo, Iraq War

  • Grace Mehl [ Commander United States Navy ] Kosovo

  • Joseph Zawol [ United States Marines | Sergeant ] Iraq War | Afghanistan War

  • Megan Shutka [United States Navy | Lieutenant commander ] Iraq War | Afghanistan War

  • Eric Ryan [ United States Marines | Sergeant ] Iraq War | Afghanistan War

The Town began production of the veterans documentary, interviewing service members from World War II, through to modern day conflicts in 2019. The film was directed, edited and produced by Smithtown Public Information Officer Nicole Garguilo, and co-produced by Brian Farrell and Margo Gordon. Smithtown Public Safety Park Ranger Charles Kang was instrumental in orchestrating the interview process of Korean War Veterans. 

Additionally, Kings Park resident and Gulf War Veteran Eric Burnett assisted with arranging a number of interviews for the documentary. War Stories has been dedicated in memory of two World War II Veterans; Eddy Reddy and Howard Laderwager, who starred in the documentary, but have since passed away. 

The Smithtown Performing Arts Council graciously volunteered their time, space and efforts to premiere the documentary. If you would like to make a donation to help Save the Smithtown Theatre, visit www.gofundme.com/f/save-smithtown-theatre.  

All photos courtesy of Town of Smithtown