Community

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The hundreds of Easter eggs scattered throughout Rocketship Park in Rocky Point were snatched up in a flash on Saturday during Brooklyn Bagels’ annual egg hunt.

Children of all ages eagerly searched the park for the treat-filled eggs, while Rocky Point’s Creative Zone offered plaster and face painting activities, and Jen Chi Faces drew caricatures.

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By Bob Savage

A big crowd marched down Main Street in Port Jefferson Village on Easter Sunday, following the world’s most famous bunny to the harborfront park for an egg hunt.

Rob Marianetti is raising money to help fund his daughter Kayla’s care. Photo by Elana Glowatz

A smile, a swallow or a step mean a lot to Rob Marianetti.

It was not long ago that his daughter was unresponsive, following a bathtime incident, and doctors told him there was no hope she would get better. But Marianetti isn’t giving up on Kayla, and coming up on her third birthday she can make some sounds and move her arms and legs.

“I’ve been on a mission to get my daughter back,” he said.

When she was 17 months old, while Marianetti was at work — for Setauket-based Hurricane Tree Experts — Kayla was having a bath in her Port Jefferson Station home and was left unattended for eight minutes, the father said. She was found floating and unresponsive.

Marianetti rushed to the hospital to see Kayla while doctors were working on her. He said he was trying to get into the room with her and was banging on a door to the point where a police officer had to intervene. He learned a few weeks later, he said, that his daughter came back to life while he was banging.

“She was blue and she was done. She was done — and she came back.”

Kayla spent time at St. Charles Hospital and Stony Brook University Hospital, and Marianetti and his wife — who is no longer “in the picture,” he said — got the little girl started on different therapies right away, so she would not deteriorate.

Rob Marianetti is raising money to help fund his daughter Kayla’s care. Above, Kayla before her bathtime accident. Photo from Rob Marianetti
Rob Marianetti is raising money to help fund his daughter Kayla’s care. Above, Kayla before her bathtime accident. Photo from Rob Marianetti

The whole time Kayla was in the hospital, Marianetti never left her side, the father’s aunt, Susan Calvi, said: “Slept there every day.”

Out of all the nation’s experts Marianetti saw, he said, just one, neurologist Dr. Chris Sinclair at John T. Mather Memorial Hospital, encouraged him to fight.

Sinclair said he’s seen a similar case of brain injury before, in which a child was perhaps even worse off than Kayla in the beginning but after a couple of years was walking and talking.

“So I’ve seen it before but I also know how flexible, in a sense, the brain of a young child is.”

Sinclair explained that there are connections between brain cells that allow the cells to communicate with one another, and in Kayla those have become damaged. But those connections can be regrown in a developing brain.

“When someone’s so young, [the future] is a lot brighter than it would be for someone who is an adult because the brain is still developing,” Sinclair said. “I think the sky’s the limit for her.”

Kayla has multiple therapy appointments each day, whether it’s hyperbaric therapy, which involves putting her in an oxygen-rich environment; physical therapy, to move her toward sitting up, standing and walking; vision therapy, as neurological issues have made her legally blind, even though her eyes themselves are fine; or speech therapy, which is used both to teach her to communicate and to eat on her own.

“By me doing all this stuff, it’s friggin’ working, man,” Marianetti said. Kayla has stood up, laughed, swallowed a small amount of pudding and taken a few steps. “Now remember, she couldn’t move a year ago. … I have hope.”

One big hurdle for Marianetti, however, is money. He’s gone through his savings, he said, and Kayla’s therapy appointments cost $8,000 a month. Then there’s other medical costs, as well as living expenses like food, diapers and electricity.

The treatments are expensive, the dad said, but “how can I not continue what I’m doing when she’s making progress?”

He set up a fundraising page, at www.gofundme.com/n19qgc, to ask for help. As of Wednesday morning, the fund had reached $18,000.

His goal is to have Kayla at least be able to walk, talk, eat and see on her own.

“I’m not leaving her like this,” Marianetti said. “I’m going until either she gets better or I die.”

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Car lovers peruse through a field of antique, vintage or otherwise eye-grabbing vehicles at a previous car show. Photo from Becky Reilly

What began as a family conversation is now an annual event that car enthusiasts across Long Island look forward to.

It was 10 years ago when John Forlenza and his wife Cindy had two children attending St. Patrick School. Their daughter Jessica was in second grade and their son John in preschool. As parents of Catholic school children, John and Cindy Forlenza said they knew well the need for fundraising. They struggled to come up with new fundraising ideas for the school, but it was their children who came up with an idea that was near and dear to their father’s heart — a car show.

John Forlenza said he was always an avid car enthusiast. His interest in cars began when he was younger when he attended car shows with his father and spent many nights as a teenager in the garage with a kerosene heater working on his car. He is also currently the proud owner of a 1957 Chevy Bel Air two-door sedan.

So with the school administration’s approval and the backing of St. Patrick’s pastor, Msgr. Ellsworth R. Walden, John Forlenza proceeded with the car show idea, starting the St. Patrick School Car Show from scratch.

Now, 10 years later, the St. Patrick School Car Show is a favorite among Long Island car enthusiasts.
This year’s Car Show is set for Sunday, April 26, with a rain date scheduled for May 3, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the grounds of St. Patrick Church. It will include a huge variety of cars, trucks and motorcycles as well as a large section of movie replica cars and monster trucks.

Admission is $5 for adults, children free. Show car admission is $15 and motorcycles $5.

This year’s show will also feature the actual U.S. National Broadway Chitty Chitty Bang Bang touring car from the stage production of the “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” musical, the 9-11 Veterans Car, the Mach 5 Speed Racer, the Christine 1958 Plymouth Fury with the original screen used engine, interior and body parts, and the Suffolk Sheriff’s Department.

In keeping with its tradition of being a day of fun for the whole family, the show will also offer a rock climbing wall and a video game truck from Jump Around Entertainment for children and young people. A variety of vendors offer shopping opportunities for the shoppers in the family.

DJ Night Train will provide music, “blowing the dust of your most fondest memories,” the entertainer promised.

Raffles, giveaways and food will be available and, as the show takes place on the grounds of a church, a special blessing will be offered for all vehicles present.

St. Patrick Church is located at 280 East Main St. in Smithtown. For more information or if you would like to display your car or reserve vendor space, call John Forlenza at 631-588-2696.

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Vance Locke’s 1655 scene, showing the purchase of all the land from “Stony Brook to ye Wading River,” includes some of the trade items that were actually delivered one month later.

by Beverly C. Tyler

April 14 will be the 360th anniversary of the establishment of the town of Brookhaven at Setauket.
From 1 to 6 p.m., the public is invited to view the Vance Locke murals in the Woodhull Auditorium of the Setauket School, Main Street, Setauket. Costumed historians will be available to detail many of the features of the murals. This is the only day of the year that the murals are open to public view.

“In this project, where historical background was so important, a great amount of research had to be done by Vance Locke, so much that the actual painting took up only one-fifth of the time spent on the murals,”  local historian William B. Minuse said in 1974.

In 1951, artist Vance Locke painted the series of murals in the Setauket School auditorium to commemorate the opening of the school and the founding of the town. The murals represent the history of the early days of Setauket and Brookhaven. The murals, completed in 1952, were a gift to the community by Ward and Dorothy Melville.

The murals begin with “Setalcott Native American Village” circa 1600. The next mural in time depicts the “Purchase of Land of the Setalcotts” by the agents for the English settlers in 1655. Five mural scenes picture important industries in Brookhaven, including “Colonial Farming,” the “Grist Mill,” the “Blacksmith,” “Shipbuilding” and “Cutting Ice.”

These murals depict the time periods from 1700 to 1900. The remaining five murals represent the Revolutionary War period on Long Island from 1776 to 1780.

Painted more than 60 years ago, Vance Locke’s wonderful murals, now completely restored to their original color and brightness, offer a realistic, visual look back at the history of our community and town.

Beverly Tyler is the Three Village Historical Society historian.

A scene at last year’s dance. Photo from Lynn Ruvolo

The Lewis Oliver Farm will host its 19th Annual Friends of the Farm Barn Dance on Saturday, April 11, at St. Philip Neri Parish center in Northport at 7 p.m.

The event, which features an evening of fun, dancing, food, raffles and door prizes, benefits the many animals of the farm, located on Burt Avenue in Northport. Those animals include resident goats, sheep, chickens, Annabelle the cow and more.

This year’s event features a few new surprises, according to a press release by organizers. Professional square dancer Lee Kopman, with the assistance of Lilith Kopman, will be teaching the art of square dancing between 7 and 8:30 p.m.  Jeff Mucciolo and the Moonshine Band, with special guest singer (and farm volunteer) Valerie Sauer will be back entertaining all. Also, the event will feature a flipbook photo booth — where, for a nominal charge one can create a personalized unique flipbook with moving images.

The fundraiser will also include a silent auction bid for prizes such as one-of-a-kind art pieces and tickets to upcoming events.

For dinner, this year’s menu includes dishes from local restaurants such as Maroni Cuisine, Aunt Chilada’s, Three Amigos, Deli 51, Batata Café and Copenhagen Bakery. Beer, wine, coffee and dessert are included in the ticket price of $50.00. To enhance your beverage of choice, a complimentary etched wine glass or beer mug will be distributed to use that evening and bring home as a keepsake.

This is the Friends of the Farm’s main fundraising event. All of the donations and proceeds go toward the feeding and care of the animals and preserving the farm.

For tickets or additional information, call Lynn at 631-757-9626 or Pat at 631-757-8065.

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Residents living in the Three Village community celebrate this Christian Avenue home as historic and charming. Photo by Phil Corso

Christian Avenue’s Sleight House is the newest historic landmark in Brookhaven Town.

The Town Board approved the late 19th-century home’s designation on March 26 after a public hearing on the matter.

The Civic Association of the Setaukets and Stony Brook and the Three Village Community Trust supported the decision.

“This circa 1880 home is a fine example of the architecture of the time and exemplifies the simple charm that attracts many of our Three Villages community,” civic President Shawn Nuzzo said in his letter to the board.

According to Brookhaven Town Historian Barbara Russell, the home belonged to Charles Sleight, a North Carolina native and carpenter. The home remains occupied today.

“It’s just wonderful that the homeowners are so proud of this house,” Russell said.

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The Kings Park-based Girl Scout Troop 408 gathers outside its community VFW hall to celebrate their achievement of helping install a brand new rail for veterans. Photo from Camille Cardoza

Kings Park Girl Scout Troop 408 is doing a lot more than just selling cookies. They are helping to refurbish homes for veterans in their community.

It all started last summer when the fifth graders from R.J.O. Intermediate School in Kings Park began selling jewelry to raise money to install a railing at their local Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall as part of their bronze award. Their initial efforts brought in $1,800 and helped pay for a brand new railing that has since been installed outside the building in November.

Now, the Girl Scouts are onto even bigger and better things to help out.

“They want to get out there and get their hands dirty on the job,” co-leader Camille “Mima” Cardoza said.

The girls have been working diligently selling jewelry and purple hearts to the community to help raise more money for the project. Every Sunday throughout the farmer’s market season, the girls pitched their ideas and sold as many bracelets and necklaces as they could to help raise the money for the railing. And looking forward, Cardoza said they plan on doing the same thing this season with the hope of raising even more money for the veterans.

Through the nonprofit Fairway Foundation, two mortgage-free homes will be awarded to Purple Heart recipients who have fought in Afghanistan or Iraq. This initiative will be orchestrated through the joint efforts of Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D), the Fairway Foundation and the community.

Rosemarie Kluepfel, who works for Fairway’s Independent Mortgage Corporation, and is helping run the foundation, said she was glad to see the community stepping up for its veterans to show their appreciation. The goal, Cardoza said, is to get at least two homes and gut them to cater to the needs of the veterans and their families. People in the community are donating most of the labor and supplies.

The Girl Scouts are also working on raising money to help pay for the essential materials, Cardoza said.

Not only will the Girl Scouts raise money, but they will also help gut and refurbish the homes whenever their schedule allows it. They said they look forward to seeing the veterans’ reactions when they see their new home.

“I’m excited to help fix up the houses for them,” 10-year-old Talia Matonti said. “I just want them to feel comfortable and be happy because they did really nice things for us.”

The young girls said they understand the sacrifices the veterans made, and they have a deep appreciation for their efforts, which is why they want to help. They feel it’s their turn to sacrifice their time and do whatever they can, the girls said.

“I want to help because they gave so much to us and hardly anyone gives back to them,” Mikayla Donohue, 10, said. “It feels good to give back to them.”

Caitlin McNulty, 10, echoed the other Girl Scouts’ comments, reflecting on the moment the railing was unveiled at the VFW hall. She called it one of the happiest days as she saw all the smiles on the veterans’ faces.

The girls plan to continue their jewelry sales and can be found at the Kings Park farmers market beginning in May. All the proceeds will go toward materials to help build the homes for the veterans.

Veterans who served in either Iraq or Afghanistan and received a Purple Heart can go to veteranshomegiveaway.org and apply if they are in need of a home. The application deadline is April 15.

Projects will launch in Huntington Town next week

File photo by Arlene Gross

Crews from PSEG Long Island are expected to launch an eight-month-long project in Huntington Town on Monday in an effort to strengthen the electric grid across Long Island.

Work on the project will follow a three-mile route along an electric line circuit in Huntington, Huntington Station and Cold Spring Harbor, according to a PSEG Long Island statement. The project will be funded through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a federal program that coordinates responses to national disasters.

The more than $729 million for the project were secured for the Long Island Power Authority through an agreement last year between Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and FEMA through FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Assistant Program.

The project will replace existing wire with more weather-resistant wire, install new and durable poles in several locations, and install or replace switching equipment to help reduce the number of customers affected by power outages.

“We are committed to making our transmission and distribution system more resilient, able to better withstand extreme weather events,” David Daly, PSEG Long Island’s president and chief operating officer said in a press release. “Superstorm Sandy has had a lasting impact on our customers, and the recovery and healing is still ongoing.”

The project is expected to implement reinforcements that will help the system in future storms. After Hurricane Sandy, people across Long Island were without power for upward of 10 days. Both Hurricane Sandy and the winter storm that followed in 2013 severely impacted the transmission and distribution system operations, a representative of PSEG Long Island said.

Work on the system will start on or about April 6, Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. While there is the potential for some road closures along the route, PSEG has not said when and where they will be.

Trees that grow near power lines will be trimmed, as they pose a safety risk and increase the chance of power outages. New poles will also be approximately the same height as existing poles but will have a stronger base and be situated a few feet from the current pole.

“After Sandy, we know firsthand how important it is to invest in the infrastructure to fortify it to withstand extreme conditions,” Jon Kaiman, special advisor to Cuomo for storm recovery and chairman of the Nassau Interim Finance Authority said in a press release.

To see a complete list of the project route visit https://www.psegliny.com.

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File photo by Michael Ruiz

By Jenni Culkin

Adolescents from the Three Village Central School District were asked to use their creative talents to write or illustrate a children’s book to the Emma S. Clark Memorial Library and the results are in.

They launched the first-ever Helen Stein Shack Book Award to showcase the young writing and artistic talent, calling for teens in the Three Village school district to create a children’s picture book.

In the library-sponsored contest category for grades seven through nine, Leah Cussen won the grand prize with her book, “Lenny the Lion.” The book told the tale of a lonely lion who leaves his family in search of a new one because he feels like he doesn’t belong.

In the end, the lion learns that his family loves him the way he is, despite any differences they might have. Anny Weisenberg and her book, “Red Boots for Rainy Days” as well as Samuel Kim and his book, “Freddy the Fish and the First Day of School” both received honorable mentions.

For grades 10 through 12, Wendy Wahlert and won the grand prize with her book, “Lilabet.” In her book, a little girl who lives in a black and white world has a love for colors. She embraces what makes her unique and shares her color with everyone.

Kiera Alventosa and her book, “Heal Our Mother Earth” as well as Sarah and Karen Jiang and their book, “Pengy Goes on an Adventure” both received honorable mentions.

“We are so incredibly impressed with the high caliber of some of the entries — the vibrant colors of the artwork and the way they wrote with young children in mind,” said Lisa DeVerna of the library. “The two grand prize winners even had wonderful lessons built into their stories.”

The winners will be recognized at a reception on April 26 at 2 p.m. at the library. A $500 scholarship will be awarded to both of the grand prize winners.

All of the winners, including the honorable mention winners, will have their books bound and made into an e-book.