Community

Event attendees learn how to use Narcan to counteract opioid overdoses. Photo by Giselle Barkley

By Giselle Barkley

Parents and students alike walked out of Mount Sinai High School knowing the ugly truth about heroin and opioid use and addiction. But they also walked away with a lesson about Narcan.

Event attendees learn how to use Narcan to counteract opioid overdoses. Photo by Giselle Barkley
Event attendees learn how to use Narcan to counteract opioid overdoses. Photo by Giselle Barkley

The school district held it’s first “The Ugly Truth” presentation on Tuesday in the Mount Sinai High School auditorium. Suffolk County Police Department officer George Lynagh, EMS officer Jason Byron and county Medical Examiner Michael Caplan tackled the origins of heroin and trends among addicts over the years. Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) and Town of Brookhaven Councilwoman Jane Bonner (C-Rocky Point) also spoke at the event.

But residents didn’t simply learn about heroin on the Island, they also left with their own Narcan kits after Byron led a Narcan training class. According to Sgt. Kathleen Kenneally of the police department’s Community Response Bureau, Narcan, also known as Naloxone, was successfully administered around 530 times since the opiate antidote was introduced to the police department in July 2012.

Narcan, which reverses the effect of heroin or other opiate-based overdoses, can be administered via an injection or nasal spray. Mount Sinai resident Susan Matias said the spray is a friendly option for community members.

“Here, it’s introduced through the nasal passages — there’s no harm done, you’re not afraid of administering a needle and/or sticking yourself in the moment of chaos,” Matias said. “I think that’s why people are more open to partake and participate in the training.”

The nasal spray also makes it easier for people who still have a stigma about drug addicts and users. Byron reminded residents that the face of addicts has evolved and they’re not the only ones in need of drugs like Narcan.

“Sadly, the connotation is, we think people that could have overdosed are dirty when really it doesn’t have to be,” Byron said. “For opiate overdose, it doesn’t mean that it’s someone addicted to heroin. It could be somebody who’s possibly on pain management for cancer, end of life care, hospice care. It’s not the stereotypical — I hate to say it — junkie. That’s not what we’re seeing out there.”

According to Caplan, in the last few years, drug addicts who’ve overdosed on the substance have gotten younger and younger. The rate of opiate overdose deaths has increased by 140 percent since 2000. Synthetic opioids, like fentanyl, are responsible for 80 percent of these death rate increases.

Fentanyl, which some dealers or users will mix with another drug like heroin, is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. Combining this drug with others can make it difficult when administering Narcan.

“One of the problems with Fentanyl is, because it’s so potent, because it acts so fast, you may need to give multiple doses of Naloxone,” Caplan said.

According to Lynagh, the police department is starting to see higher levels of Fentanyl. He added that in his more than three decades as a police officer, the drug is one of the more addictive drugs he has seen. Lynagh added that heroin was initially introduced to combat morphine addiction.

“We don’t have too many people addicted to morphine now,” Lynagh said. “We have this heroin addiction, so sometimes we mean to do something well or combat a drug or something bad, with something else that’s bad.”

Donna and Kelly McCauley, front row, third and fourth from left, with their Girl Scout troop. Photo by Jenn Intravaia Photography

By Ernestine Franco

If you missed last year’s Butterfly Breakfast for a Cure fundraiser in Miller Place, you’ll have another chance to attend next week. And, no, this is not a fundraiser to help butterflies. It is a fundraiser to support research of the worst disease you have never heard of.

The event, to be held on Saturday, April 23 at Applebee’s Restaurant at 355 Route 25A with seatings from 8 to 9 a.m., will be held in support of DEBRA of America, an organization that provides assistance and education to families with children born with the genetic condition of epidermolysis bullosa.

Young people who suffer from this disease are called “butterfly children” because their skin is so fragile it blisters or tears from friction or trauma. Currently, there is no treatment or cure for this disease.

Although this event if often associated with Rocky Point resident Donna McCauley, she wants to make it clear that her daughter Kelly is the driving force behind the fundraiser.

“Three years ago, Kelly was inspired to get more involved with DEBRA of America. She has always felt a lot of compassion for those afflicted with my skin disease, having watched me and her Uncle Bob deal with its many challenges through the years. Her first year as a Young Ambassador for DEBRA, Kelly hosted a small fundraiser at the Rocky Point High School where she raised almost $500,” said McCauley in a recent email. “So, giving credit where credit is due, her dad Michael and I could not be prouder of what a kind, giving and compassionate young lady she has become,” she added. Last year’s event raised almost $5,000.

As they have in the past, members of Donna McCauley’s Girl Scout troop, of which Kelly is a member, will volunteer their time as servers for the breakfast. So come and “enjoy a short stack for a tall cause.”

Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for children 10 and under, and include pancakes, sausage, scrambled eggs and a beverage (coffee, tea, juice or soda). There will also be a Buy-a-Chance auction with some fantastic prizes. Tickets can be purchased online at www.debra.org/butterflybreakfast2016 or by calling 631-821-6740.

Bob Koch, above, of Koch Tree Services in Mount Sinai, hangs up the flags each year for Heritage Park’s “Parade of Flags.” Photo from Fred Drewes

Bob Koch is no stranger to giving back.

The single father of three and owner of Koch Tree Services in Mount Sinai is known for his generosity and willingness to always lend his services, or just a helping hand.

“I get emotional talking about him, because he’s just such a wonderful person,” daughter Kara Koch said. “Anybody he meets, he always gives them a chance and makes sure to think the best of them. He really goes above and beyond for everybody and anybody.”

According to Bob Koch’s son Jeremy, his grandfather started the business and his dad took over, working on some major jobs while heading the company. Bob Koch helped clean up Battery Park in Manhattan after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, planted trees and plants at Heritage Park in Mount Sinai, helped local businesses plant trees for Christmas tree lightings and he does basic maintenance and upkeep around the area. He donates much of the time he spends on these community projects.

Bob Koch and two workers plant a dogwood and other trees along the Avenue of America. Photo from Fred Drewes
Bob Koch and two workers plant a dogwood and other trees along the Avenue of America. Photo from Fred Drewes

Nick Aliano Sr., who owns Aliano Real Estate in Miller Place, said Koch helped plant a nearly 30-foot tree at the Aliano Shopping Center to honor his son Robert, who was run over by a car and battled through a long recovery. Despite the first tree dying and the replacement tree almost succumbing to the same fate, Koch made it his goal to keep the tree alive.

“He wanted the tree to make it — it was his mission,” he said. “It would cost thousands and thousands of dollars to do what he did, and we didn’t ask him for a favor; he offered it. He’s a special guy. Behind the lines, Bob is putting back into the community. A lot of people don’t even see it. That’s the kind of guy he is. He doesn’t make an announcement about it.”

The Miller Place Fire Department holds an annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony at the tree, which Robert Aliano lights, and where Koch is mentioned for his generosity for the wonderful things he does for his community.

At Heritage Park, Koch sometimes sends his crew in to help with landscaping and cleaning up, according to Heritage Trust Office Manager Susan Peters.

“Everything he does here has been totally volunteer,” she said. “He has made the park more beautiful and more inviting, and he’s done so many things that we couldn’t afford to do.”

Fred Drewes, who has also donated a lot of his own time to landscaping the property, said the environment Koch has created at the park will be admired for generations to come.

“I feel grateful and blessed by his willingness and graciousness to help make our small local park seem so large and enjoyable for so many people,” he said.

At “The Wedge,” Koch has donated and planted trees along the parking lot, as well as a tree for an annual lighting around Christmas, and helped with the planting of trees along the park’s “Avenue of America.”

There is also a Parade of Flags that is arranged on national holidays. Koch’s daughter Katie once asked her father if waking up early to hang flags for each state “drove him crazy.”

“He responded, ‘You know Katie, one thing that’s important is you always give back,’” she recalled. “He always made that a big thing. It’s never a job to him.”

Bob Koch, of Koch Tree Services in Mount Sinai, hangs up the flags each year for Heritage Park’s “Parade of Flags,” above. Photo from Fred Drewes
Bob Koch, of Koch Tree Services in Mount Sinai, hangs up the flags each year for Heritage Park’s “Parade of Flags,” above. Photo from Fred Drewes

She finds that positivity and care is contagious: “He’s such a hard worker,” she said. “The man sometimes works six or seven days a week and still has time to give to his family and the community, and he does it with a smile.”

Carmella “Miss Mella” Livingston of Miss Mella’s Footsteps to Learning, a child care center in Coram, said Koch donated time to take care of her property and planted a tree in honor of her late husband.

“He’s taken care of it all as a good community gesture,” she said. “Besides being very community-oriented, very generous and very kind, he’s also very upbeat, very happy. He’s definitely an asset to the community, but also as a dad. It’s a beautiful thing to see someone who is so giving.”

Although he works quietly, neighbors have taken notice.

Katie Koch recalled driving down the street with her father last year, slowing down for a sign someone hung up on their front porch: “It said, ‘Thank you Bob Koch for everything you’ve done,’” she said. “I remember thinking how proud I was that that was my dad. He’s the most selfless person I know.”

According to Kara Koch, who is an office assistant at Koch Tree Services, her father has inspired his family and everyone in the community to always be positive and the best you can be.

“He’s taught me how to love, how to care, how to be responsible, how to be successful,” she said. “Seeing what he does, it makes me want to be the kind of person he is, and if I can be half the person he is, I’d be a very happy girl.”

A view of a spine captured using the O-arm. Photo from Alexandra Zendrian

By Victoria Espinoza

Huntington Hospital has been under the leadership of Dr. Gerard Brogan for the past year, and since he assumed his post, the hospital has implemented new surgical procedures, protocols and equipment to ensure patients are offered the most advanced and effective treatment they can get.

Brogan, the executive director, first joined the team at Huntington in January 2015 but has been a resident of the town for the past 20 years.

Dr. Gerard Brogan, has been exectuive director of Huntington Hospital for about 15 months. Photo from Alexandra Zendrian
Dr. Gerard Brogan, has been exectuive director of Huntington Hospital for about 15 months. Photo from Alexandra Zendrian

“My philosophy is I want to work at a hospital where I would go as a patient or would send my family to,” Brogan said in a phone interview. “If anything happens to me in Huntington, I am coming to this ER.”

Huntington recently became the first hospital on Long Island to offer the O-arm, a surgical imaging system that generates a three-dimensional computer model of the spine. This over $1 million equipment helps doctors have a more precise view of what they are operating on during surgeries, like screwing nails into the spine.

During the operation, the neurosurgeon refers to the monitors, which provide real-time verification of the location of surgical tools and implants with submillimeter accuracy.

The first surgery using the O-arm was successfully completed at the end of March, and according to Brogan, six more successful surgeries have followed.

The executive director said this equipment ensures “the ultimate in surgical precision,” and that the use of this machinery is “an indication how cutting-edge our hospital is.”

“If you want to be a leader for excellence, you need this capability,” he said.

Dr. Robert Kerr, chief of neurosurgery at Huntington Hospital, was the first to use the O-arm.

“When you have to place a stabilizing screw into the spine and it passes within millimeters of the spinal cord, nerve root or vital arteries, there is no substitute for the kind of accuracy the O-arm provides to a neurosurgeon,” Kerr said in a statement.

Changes at the hospital are coming in even bigger packages.

A view of a spine captured using the O-arm. Photo from Alexandra Zendrian
A view of a spine captured using the O-arm. Photo from Alexandra Zendrian

The hospital is currently in the middle of creating an entirely new $43 million emergency department, which Brogan said will cut down waiting times, help diagnose patients faster and overall improve the quality of a patient’s stay while in the emergency department.

He said some of the protocol changes have already been implemented in the current emergency department, cutting down patients’ wait time by an average of 48 minutes, due to methods like including physicians when a patient is first being triaged and beginning blood work sooner, but added that he is excited to see further changes implemented.

“I think for the patients, the experience is going to be just phenomenal,” Brogan said.

Awards have followed the success of Huntington, with the hospital recently named a national 2016 Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. The hospital is one of 11 named to this list, in the Northwell Health system. The nursing staff at the hospital also received Magnet Recognition for excellence in nursing for the past 12 years, a national recognition that less than eight percent of hospitals worldwide have earned.

“If we are going to do something [at Huntington Hospital],” Brogan said, “we do it as well, if not better, than anywhere else in the country.”

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Above, the Playbill cover features the musical, “Hamilton.” Photo from Beverly Tyler

By Beverly C. Tyler

“A tailor spyin’ on the British government! I take their measurements, information and then I smuggle it!” (Hercules Mulligan, “Hamilton,” Act I)

We laughed, we cried, we cheered, we groaned, and we left the theater emotionally drained, but also intellectually invigorated. We had just been a part of a new, fast-paced, almost non-stop hip-hop musical that chronicles Alexander Hamilton’s life. Hamilton is portrayed by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who also wrote the script, music and lyrics. The historically accurate musical, adapted from the book of the same name by Ron Chernow, takes us from Hamilton’s rise from poverty to a position of power during the Revolutionary War, close to his commanding General, George Washington. It then moves to the forming of a new nation with Hamilton, the other founding fathers, and the people closest to him. The musical also includes his Royal Majesty King George III, portrayed magnificently by Jonathan Groff. “You say the price of my love’s not a price that you’re willing to pay. . . When you’re gone I’ll go mad, so don’t throw away this thing we had. ‘Cuz when push comes to shove, I will kill your friends and family to remind you of my love.”

Only the swift tempo of rap speech could transport us through the myriad of historical events, social situations, and love-hate relationships that existed between these men and women, some well known and many deserving to be better known. From the start of the Revolutionary War, to the duel between Aaron Burr and Hamilton that resulted in his death and his elevation to a revered position in American history, we are transported, along with the cast, feeling more like a congregation than an audience, through the triumphs and tragedies of Hamilton’s life. A brief part of the story includes his relationship with Hercules Mulligan, a patriot and Revolutionary War spy who gathered information on British activity in Manhattan and forwarded the intelligence to Hamilton and General Washington through Robert Townsend (alias Samuel Culper Jr.) and the Culper Spy Ring.

“Hamilton” has deservedly been playing to sold-out audiences since it opened last year at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in Manhattan. If you are looking for advance sale tickets, consider purchasing them now for next spring or summer. I saw the show on Wednesday, April 6, with tickets I purchased at the theatre box office last July.

Now the drama of the Revolutionary War and the Setauket-based Culper Spy Ring continues on Monday, April 25, with the start of the ten-episode, third season of “Turn” on AMC (channel 43 in this area). Lacking the historical accuracy and dramatic impact of “Hamilton”, “Turn” still has us watching the drama of ordinary Long Island men and women, working behind enemy lines, to free us from the domination of the British empire. Watch “Turn,” then come and learn the real and equally dramatic story of the actions and the lives of the people connected with the Culper Spy ring as detailed at the Three Village Historical Society exhibit, “SPIES!”

The exhibit and society headquarters are at 93 North Country Road in Setauket. The exhibit is open every Sunday from 1- to 4 p.m. Walking tours that include the spy story are conducted every month. Check the web site: www.tvhs.org for dates, times and locations.

Beverly Tyler is the Three Village Historical Society historian and author of books available from the Three Village Historical Society.

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Anthony Forte, left, leaves behind his mother Debbie Carpinone, right, and 21-year-old brother Christopher. Photo from Debbie Carpinone

Anthony Michael Forte was a 24-year-old who got good grades in high school and went home to a loving family. He dreamed of a pursuing a career in the entertainment or food industries — until he died of a heroin overdose on May 2, 2015.

Forte is the new face of heroin addicts on Long Island.

While the drug problem continues to rise, his mother, Debbie Carpinone, is doing what she can to keep her spirits high and her son’s alive. Last October, Carpinone, of Port Jefferson, created Anthony’s Angels and established a $1,000 scholarship in Forte’s name.

The scholarship will help send one Mount Sinai High School senior to college this year. Carpinone, who works as a teaching assistant for the Mount Sinai Elementary School, wanted to pay it forward and give one student a chance to do the one thing her son couldn’t — go to school.

“He was so smart,” she said. “He wanted to go to school so bad, but he just couldn’t get his act together due to his addiction.”

The teaching assistant of 13 years sold 128 “Anthony’s Angels” T-shirts last year for the fundraiser of the same name. She raised $1,610 and also established a Facebook group. She approached Mount Sinai Elementary School Principal John Gentilcore in January regarding her son’s death and her scholarship, Gentilcore said.

He said it was easier for the small school district to spread the word about the scholarship. Forte was Carpinone’s eldest son, who went to Comsewogue High School until 2006, before he graduated from Newfield High School in 2008. His mother said even when he hit tough times, Forte remained loving and always had a smile on his face.

According to Carpinone, her son started using heroin in his junior year of high school. He told her about his addiction around two years later, and was in and out of sober houses.

“Talking about the loss of a child, if that doesn’t move you, if that doesn’t evoke a response to support and help … then I’d be surprised,” Gentilcore said. “She was honoring her son. To be able to do that in a way that helps others is a wonderful thing.”

Forte’s autopsy showed high levels of fentanyl in his system. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, fentanyl is more potent than morphine. Carpinone said she discovered the identity of her son’s dealers, their address and their contact information. She provided Detective Ghyslaine McBean with this information, but said the detective hasn’t returned her call since November. McBean didn’t respond to media inquiries prior to publication.

While tackling the issue of drug use on Long Island is important for many communities across Long Island, acknowledging the evolution of heroin addicts and other drug abusers is also vital.

Carpinone said some people still think all heroin users are dirtbags or come from terrible homes, which is not the case. Tracey Budd, who lost her son to a heroin overdose four years ago, met Carpinone last year. Budd, who helps families dealing with addiction, said nowadays, anyone could become a drug addict.

“The majority of people I know [who are affected by a drug addiction] all come from good families or good homes,” Budd said. “The thing we learn in addiction is, we didn’t cause it.”

Vape Shops across Suffolk say the new law will hurt their businesses. File photo by Giselle Barkley

During last week’s Rocky Point Drug Forum, Brookhaven Councilwoman Jane Bonner (C-Rocky Point) announced her new step to combat drug use, with a ban regarding hookah lounges and smoke and vape shops in Brookhaven Town.

If the town approves and implements the councilwoman’s proposal, prospective shop owners cannot establish their businesses within 1,000 feet of family- or child-oriented institutions or various public places. These locations include educational and religious facilities; non-degree granting schools, like ballet and karate studios; and swimming pools. The ban won’t apply to existing lounges and shops that have proper permits and certificates of occupancy.

The idea isn’t simply to deter students from purchasing items from the store, but also to prevent them from using these devices, or similar items, to smoke drugs like marijuana. During last week’s forum, John Venza, vice president of Adolescent Services for Outreach, said some vaporizers can accommodate various forms of marijuana including dabs, a wax-like form of the drug that has higher levels of THC.

According to Venza, marketing has also changed over the years to appeal to a younger audience. Bonner not only agreed with Venza, but went a step further.

“We all know that those attractive signs that lure the kids in are the very same reason the government banned Camel advertising,” Bonner said during last week’s forum. She added that parents need to keep a closer eye on their kids by observing their social media accounts, going through their phones and having family dinners.

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Councilwoman Jane Bonner announces her proposed ban at the Rocky Point Drug Forum last week. Photo by Giselle Barkley

For the Rocky Point school district and community alike, fighting substance abuse is a top priority. But according to Rocky Point Superintendent of Schools Michael Ring, the fight is an uphill battle with new devices on the market.

“One of the things that works against us is the emerging technology that makes it easier for students to be brought in and grow that into abuse,” Ring said.

But Rocky Point Smoke & Vape Shop employee Alex Patel said the ban might be a good idea with little reward. According to the Rocky Point resident and father of two, parents have purchased vaporizers and accessories for their children. Patel said the shop isn’t legally allowed to sell to residents who are under 21 years old, but this isn’t the only way students are acquiring the devices.

“Online, I see people buying left and right,” Patel said about vaporizers and similar devices. “It’s much cheaper online because they’re buying in bulk. So what they’re paying in the store $50, online, they can get it for $20.”

He added that it’s also easier for students to purchase these items online because these sites don’t verify the buyer’s age. In light of this, Patel continued saying the proposed ban won’t stop these underage residents from finding what they’re looking for.

North Shore Youth Council Executive Director Janene Gentile said she hasn’t seen an increase in these shops near her organization, but said the youth council works “with the legislators around holding the pharmaceutical companies accountable” as well.

“I believe in this bill,” Gentile added.

Residents can voice their opinions regarding the ban at the May 12 public hearing at 6 p.m. in Brookhaven Town Hall.

Ezra, one of the farm’s two alpacas, rests outside at the Lewis Oliver Farm. Photo by Giselle Barkley

In 1996, the Lewis Oliver Farm’s Friends of the Farm in Northport held its first barn dance. Twenty years later, the not-for profit is still letting Long Islanders move to the beat for its annual barn dance fundraiser to be held on Saturday, April 16, at the St. Philip Neri Parish Center in the village.

A goat steps out of it’s living quarters at the Lewis Oliver Farm. Photo by Giselle Barkley
A goat steps out of it’s living quarters at the Lewis Oliver Farm. Photo by Giselle Barkley

For members of Friends of the Farm, the dance isn’t simply a tradition but also provides funds for its approximately 60 animals. According to the organization, the dance was specifically created to help care for the farm animals.

While the 100-year-old farm used to produce butter and eggs in its prime, the organization now provides sanctuary-like care for Annabelle the cow, Tiny the pig, sheep Bitsie and Pepper, alpacas Ezra and Onyx, chickens, goats, rabbits, turkeys and more. The funds also help preserve the farm, which has been an area attraction for Northport community members.

“You see little boys and they’re playing ball and they’re independent and they want to get an ice cream,” said Wendy Erlandson, president of Friends of the Farm. “When I was growing up in Brooklyn I could do that … there were plenty of places to go but here there aren’t.”

According to Erlandson and another Friends of the Farm member, Judy, the dance is the not-for-profit’s main fundraising event to help the farm. The duo said the farm was in jeopardy of closing 15 to 20 years ago.  Now, with fundraising events like the barn dance, the farm can continue to thrive and be one way for kids to learn about some of the animals they see in their books.

“I think it is important to teach children … that [animals] don’t just appear. You just don’t push a button and there’s your animal like it is on Google,” Judy said. “You’ve got to feed it, you’ve got to wash it, you’ve got to take care of its health, oversee it … and [children] can be part of it.”

The Lewis Oliver Farm provides permanent housing for its animals, which will live out their days on the farm. Photo by Giselle Barkley
The Lewis Oliver Farm provides permanent housing for its animals, which will live out their days on the farm. Photo by Giselle Barkley

Judy added that community support is important especially since one ticket alone could pay for items like a bag of chicken feed. Erlandson said they’ve sold around 180 tickets thus far but there’s still room for more community members.

Erlandson added that ticketholders can take a chance on raffle prizes, with baskets valued at upward of $100 each,  and enjoy samples from local restaurants including Maroni’s, Aunt Chilada’s, Three Amigo’s, Deli 51 and Batata Cafe. Beer, wine and coffee along with dessert from Copenhagen’s Bakery will also be served during the dance.

Live music will be provided by the band Just Cause (country, rock).

This year, the Friends of the Farm has partnered with a fellow not-for-profit, Rock Can Roll Inc., which provides nonperishable items for food pantries on the Island. Residents are asked to bring a healthy nonperishable item to the event for people or pets to support the cause.

Residents who wish to attend this year’s barn dance can purchase tickets in advance for $50 or at the door for $60 per person. The Barn Dance will be held at the St. Philip Neri Parish Center at 15 Prospect St., Northport Village, from 7 to 11 p.m.

For more information or to purchase tickets, call Lynn at 631-757-9626 or leave a message at the farm at 631-261-6320.

U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin, standing, visits with James and Noreen Saladino after the couple shared how adult day health care has helped them face service-related health issues in 2016. File photo by Phil Corso

The fight to expand veterans health services made a pit stop in Stony Brook before hitting Washington, D.C.

U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) took to the Long Island State Veterans Home last Thursday and stood before a room filled with veterans standing to benefit from a piece of legislation he said would expand disabled veterans’ access to adult day health care. He garnered widespread support from the local level before taking the fight to the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, which scheduled a hearing on his bill for April 20.

“It must always be a top priority of Congress to ensure that all veterans receive the proper treatment and care they deserve after fighting for our country,” Zeldin said. “My bill, which has strong bipartisan support in Congress, with over 45 co-sponsors including the entire Long Island Congressional Delegation, is just one more way that we can expand care for veterans.”

H.R. 2460 was written to enhance care for service members who are 70 percent or more disabled from a service-connected injury, which Zeldin said often required hands-on assistance in order to complete everyday tasks. In Stony Brook, the Long Island State Veterans Home is only one of three facilities nationwide to offer a program called adult day health care, which delivers an alternative to nursing home care for disabled veterans and their families. But the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs does not cover such an expense at state veterans homes, putting a greater burden on service members’ wallets.

If passed, Zeldin said, the legislation would help expand this program, which could be offered at any of the 153 state veterans homes across the country.

Fred Sganga, director of the Long Island State Veterans Home, said the legislation would fix a harrowing disparity that disabled vets face on a daily basis.

“Since the original legislation to provide no-cost skilled nursing care to our veterans who are 70 percent or more service connected disabled was passed into law in 2006, those veterans who could possibly be served by an alternative like medical model adult day health care have been shortchanged of this wonderful opportunity,” he said. “Congressman Zeldin had the resolve to recognize this issue and bring an appropriate fix not only for the Long Island State Veterans Home, but for the other 152 state veterans homes across the country.”

Noreen Saladino, whose husband James receives adult day health care to help combat the effects of being exposed to Agent Orange while serving during the Vietnam War, said the program has given her a new life.

“My personal life changed when James entered adult day health care,” she said. “It keeps him safe and comfortable.

Dr. Kenneth Kushansky, dean at the School of Medicine and senior vice president of Health Sciences at Stony Brook University, said the congressman’s bill advocated for a critical piece of veterans health care exercised at both Stony Brook Hospital and the 350-bed Long Island State Veterans Home.

“Stony Brook Medicine wants to acknowledge Congressman Zeldin for submitting this legislation on behalf of veterans and their families,” he said. “Providing funding for a long-term care alternative, like medical model adult day health care, will give our veterans and their families much deserved choice. Stony Brook Medicine serves as a model for the rest of the nation as it relates to long-term care for our nation’s heroes, and we are proud to be a part of this initiative.”

An old map of the Suassa Park neighborhood shows some streets slated to be repaved this season, including an erroneously named Longfellow Lane. File image

Streets in the Suassa Park section of Port Jefferson Village will get a fresh coat of asphalt this paving season.

During a meeting on Monday night, the village board of trustees approved work on Owasco Drive, Emerson Street, Michigan Avenue, Lowell Place, Whittier Place, Hawthorne Street and Longfellow Lane, as well as the half of California Avenue within village boundaries. Medford-based contractor Suffolk Asphalt Corp. will pave those roads on the western side of the village, south of West Broadway, for a cost not to exceed $180,000.

Trustee Larry LaPointe said the streets in that section of the village are “badly in need of repaving.”