Employees who began at Stony Brook Medicine 40 years ago, wearing red flowers, were honored at the hospital’s celebration. Photos from Stony Brook Medicine

Stony Brook University Hospital has come a long way in its four-decade history. On Feb.14, past and current employees of SBUH gathered at the Medical and Research Translation building to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the opening of the facility.

The idea of the region’s academic medical center was an ambitious undertaking, beginning in 1973 when construction began. Five years later, the two iconic hexagonal structures were completed. From there, a yearlong mass recruitment process began in which about 800 people were hired.

Many of the hospital’s first employees didn’t know what to expect or in some cases how to get there.

“They said you take the Long Island Expressway then go north on Nicolls Road and when you get to the Star Wars set you’ll know you’re there,” said Lawrence Hurst, professor and chair of the Department of Orthopaedics at the Renaissance School of Medicine.

Hurst came to SBU in 1979 with the intent of being the hospital’s firsthand surgeon.

An attendee looks at a time line display. Photos from Stony Brook Medicine

“It was an exciting adventure, the opportunity to become the first in a specialty was something I couldn’t pass up,” he said. “I was lucky enough to take full advantage of it.”

Extensive logistical planning began before the hospital opened the following year.

“When we came here, there were no patients, no equipment, we had a very small group of physicians in the beginning, now we have over 500,” Hurst said.

As part of the celebration, hospital officials showcased a video presentation highlighting the facility’s accomplishments throughout the years and included interviews with employees who shared their favorite memories.

Some notable accomplishments included: doctors performing the first kidney transplant surgery on Long Island in 1981; the first Suffolk County police helicopter touching down on the hospital’s helipad in 1989; and in 1990, New York State designating the hospital a Level I Trauma Center. This past year, SBU opened the Children’s Hospital and MART Building.

In addition to the presentation, a time line and exhibit were on display throughout the building showcasing the hospital’s history.

Kenneth Kaushansky, senior vice president for health sciences and dean at the Renaissance School of Medicine, spoke about the reason he left San Diego to come to Stony Brook

“I saw incredible potential when I decided to come here 10 years ago,” he said. “It had a good medical school and good health care facilities.”

“We have become one of the best hospitals in the country, a premier health center.”

– Kenneth Kaushansky

Kaushansky said the further development of the medical school and the hospital over the years has been a “powerhouse.”

“We have become one of the best hospitals in the country, a premier health center,” he said.

Going forward, the senior vice president of health sciences said that SBU will continue to strengthen the hospital network throughout the Island and continue to advance the Renaissance School of Medicine.

“As technology improves, I believe the future of health care will be more geared toward tele-help, tele-EMS and wearable devices,” he said.

Carol Gomes, CEO of Stony Brook University Hospital, said she met many lifelong friends and colleagues when she began to work in the laboratory in 1985.

“I’ve been very fortunate to meet people along the way that have become great mentors to me,” she said. “I’ve been able to connect with them on a daily basis.”

Gomes said as she has progressed in her own career the hospital has done the same.

“We have continued to flourish as a health care organization,” Gomes said. “This celebration was a very special moment for me. I just think about the connections I’ve made over the years.”

The CEO of the hospital credited the facility’s staff.

“The employees are the lifeblood of the organization, they come to work every day,” Gomes said. “Our greatest strength is our staff.”

Gomes said if it weren’t for the staff, the hospital wouldn’t have had the clinical outcomes or the reputation for which it is known.

“Everyone has the same goal … The dedication of the staff to our patients will always remain the same, it has been our one constant,” she said. “Stony Brook has been my home away from home.”

Photo by Courtney Braun

‘Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts, 2 E. Main St., Smithtown presents “Shrek The Musical Jr.” through March 1. In a faraway kingdom, Shrek finds his swamp invaded by banished fairy tale misfits, runaways who’ve been cast off by Lord Farquaad, a tiny terror with big ambitions. Farquaad tells Shrek he can get his swamp back if he rescues Princess Fiona from the dragon-guarded tower. But every fairy tale has its unexpected twists and turns! Performances are held on Saturdays and Sundays at various times and Feb. 17 to 21 at 1 p.m. for Presidents Week break. All seats are $18. For further information or to order tickets, call 631-724-3700 or visit


Ellis Paul. Photo by Tim Rice


Ellis Paul heads to the Long Island Museum, 1200 Route 25A, Stony Brook on Feb. 23 for his 13th appearance in WUSB’s Sunday Street Series. The concert, held in the Carriage Museum’s Gillespie Room, will take place at 3 p.m. The program will feature many of the songs from Ellis’ latest album, “The Storyteller’s Suitcase.” Tickets are $25 in advance at through Feb. 21, $30 at the door. Call 751-0066 for more information.

 Photo by Tim Rice


'Black Opal,' acrylic on canvas, by Bill Durham

By Melissa Arnold

Running a museum is far from simple. Consider this: The Long Island Museum in Stony Brook is home to more than 2,500 pieces of artwork done on paper, 500 paintings and 100 pieces of three-dimensional art. Each piece must be catalogued, maintained, protected and stored. It’s a delicate and meticulous process that takes a lot of work.

Recently, the LIM received a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts to expand and upgrade its storage facilities. They’ll need to clear out some of their existing storage space to prepare for renovation, and fortunately its visitors will reap the rewards of the process.

From Feb. 22 to June 26, the museum will present Off the Rack: Building and Preserving LIM’s Art Treasures, an exhibit of approximately 90 works of art from its permanent collection, in the main gallery of its Art Museum. Many pieces in the exhibit are only put on view rarely, if at all.

‘Dance of the Haymakers,’ 1845, oil on canvas mounted on wood, by William Sidney Mount

“We could have taken the artwork to off-site storage, but we thought, ‘Why not put it on display?’ In order to make more space, we thought this would be a great time to assess the state of the collection and share its history and highlights with our visitors,” said LIM Deputy Director and Curator Joshua Ruff. “This is an opportunity for people to see things they may not have seen before.”

Ruff said that choosing pieces for Off the Rack was a team effort by the museum staff, who sought to put together a cohesive story of how the museum’s collection has grown and evolved over the years.

Visitors will be able to explore a time line of the LIM’s conservation efforts. In addition, each work in the exhibit will include its accession number, which will help teach visitors how the museum keeps track of each piece.

Off the Rack is divided into loose sections celebrating particular themes and standout artists. Not to be missed is a section dedicated to one of the museum’s “anchor” artists, William Sidney Mount. Among Mount’s included works are an 1841 painting of Crane Neck Marsh, which Ruff says is “an example of his extremely detailed craftsmanship while creating a natural setting,” and “Dance of the Haymakers,” a painting of a fiddler playing music for dancing farmhands, which made Mount a household name in 1845. 

Other high-profile artists with dedicated spaces in the exhibit include Arnold Hoffman, Samuel Rothport, Winslow Homer, Joe Reboli and Helen Torr, among others.

There are also sections of artwork focused on coastal and marine environments, abstract work and contemporary artists, including some local Long Islanders like Janet Culbertson, Bruce Lieberman and Dan Pollera.

Ty Stroudsburg of Southold also has artwork at the LIM — her 2000 oil painting on linen “Pumpkin Field at Sunset” is one of many views that have caught her eye on the North Fork.

“I love color. I used to drive around with a sketch pad in my car, and it was always color that would lead me to pull over and either do quick sketches with pastels or take a photograph to use for later,” said Stroudsburg, whose work has hung in exhibits and museums throughout New York and New Jersey for more than 60 years. 

“I didn’t strive for notoriety, I just painted because I love to paint and it keeps me going. I feel extremely fortunate that curators believe my art is worth being a part of their museums,” she added.

For LIM Executive Director Neil Watson, Off the Rack provides the chance to see their continuously evolving collection in a new light.

“As we began to do the work required for the renovations and take pieces out of storage, there were things in the collection I hadn’t seen in several years, and even some pieces I didn’t even know we had,” he recalled. 

“That’s the beauty of this exhibit -— we get to share parts of our collection that people may have never even seen before. Of course, there will be plenty of ‘old friends,’ like the work from William Sidney Mount, but there is so much more to see. Ours is a living collection — it’s not sealed or stagnant, and it continues to grow.”

The Long Island Museum, 1200 Route 25A, Stony Brook presents Off the Rack: Building and Preserving LIM’s Art Treasures, from Feb. 22 through June 26. The museum is open Thursdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. Admission for adults is $10; discounts are available for children, college students, seniors and the disabled. For more information, visit or call 631-751-0066.

Celebrate National Children’s Dental Health Month with Toothpalooza! at The Whaling Museum, 301 Main St., Cold Spring Harbor on Feb. 23 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Explore teeth large and small – including some of the largest teeth in the world. Check out a real whale tooth cavity, see a narwhal tusk, watch a puppet show and see the Tooth Fairy! Carve a scrimshaw box for baby teeth and go home with “toothy” crafts.

Fee is $12 children, $6 adults. Call 631-367-3418 for more information.


This week’s shelter pet is Rose, a beautiful 1½-year-old black domestic short-haired cat currently available for adoption at Kent Animal Shelter. 

Rose loves to play explore, enjoys meals and being in the mix of things. This social gal is patiently waiting on her forever family to bring her home! Rose comes spayed, microchipped and up to date on all her vaccines.

Kent Animal Shelter is located at 2259 River Road in Calverton. The adoption center is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

For more information on Rose and other adoptable pets at Kent, call 631-727-5731 or visit

Ginger Dalton and Kyle Breitenbach

Three more chances to catch a performance of “Little Red Riding Hood: A Tale of Safety for Today” at Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson on Feb. 20, 21 and 22 at 11 a.m.  Amanda Sally Desdemona Estella Barbara Temple, better known as Little Red Riding Hood, takes a thrilling journey through the woods to her grandmother’s house. Joined by her twin sisters, Blanche and Nora, Little Red Riding Hood learns a big lesson about safety in this modern musical telling. All seats are $10. To order, call 928-9100 or visit’

Photo from Fathom Events

Ahead of its 35th anniversary in December, Steven Spielberg’s “The Color Purple” will return to more than 600 select theaters on Feb. 23 at 1 p.m. and again at 5 p.m. in honor of Black History Month, courtesy of Turner Classic Movies and Fathom Events. 

It’s the first nationwide release of the film in more than three decades.

Whoopi Goldberg in a scene from the film
Photo courtesy of Fathom Events

The unforgettable characters of Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel brighten the screen in this powerful cinematic adaptation, directed by Steven Spielberg. At its center is Celie (Whoopi Goldberg), a poor black woman in Georgia during the 1900s who is sexually abused by her father and physically abused by her husband, and follows her search for fulfillment in a world closed to her. The wonderful supporting cast includes Oprah Winfrey as Sofia, Margaret Avery as Shug Avery, Willard E. Pugh as Harpo and Danny Glover as Albert.

Goldberg, Winfrey and Avery were each nominated for an Oscar, among the film’s 11 nominations, which also included Best Picture and Original Score. Goldberg won a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama.

In reviewing the movie, the late film critic Roger Ebert wrote, “This is one of the few movies in a long time that inspires tears of happiness, and earns them.”

TCM Primetime host Ben Mankiewicz will provide new commentary and insight into the making and legacy of this unforgettable movie before and after the screening. 

Participating theaters in our neck of the woods include AMC Loews Stony Brook 17, 2196 Nesconset Highway, Stony Brook and Regal Deer Park & IMAX, 455 Commack Road, Deer Park. To purchase your ticket in advance, visit

Photo by Corinne Wight

Join the John W. Engeman Theater, 250 Main St., Northport for Disney’s “Frozen Jr.” now extended through March 8 by popular demand! 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! Tickets are $15. To order, call 261-2900 or visit 

File photo by Elana Glowatz

Comsewogue Public Library, 170 Terryville Road, Port Jefferson Station offers this life-saving training through New York State’s Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) on Thursday, Feb. 27, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Learn to understand, recognize, respond to and reverse suspected opioid overdoses using naloxone. Attendees ages 16 and up will receive a free Narcan kit. Open to all. Please register, as seating is limited. Call 631-928-1212.