Stock photo

Family Trivia Night

The Whaling Museum in Cold Spring Harbor continues its Family Trivia Night on Thursday, Jan. 21 at 7 p.m. Join them to test your knowledge in a wide array of topics all relating to food! Questions range across all levels. Free to play. $5 suggested donation appreciated. Register at

Sofia Heimbold


Congratulations to Sofia Heimbold of East Setauket for being the winner of Studio 268’s raffle! “View From the Second Stone Bridge” by artist Mary Jane Van Zeijts with custom walnut framing by Jonathan Busko was raffled off during the art studio’s student exhibit, Nature, in December. The pastel painting depicts Conscience Bay in November at high tide. 

A preview of the exhibit was published in the Dec. 3 issue of TBR News Media’s Arts & Lifestyles section.

The total raffle sales of $1,340 was donated to the Frank Melville Memorial Foundation as a thank you for allowing Studio 268 to hold outdoor social distanced art classes at the picturesque Frank Melville Memorial Park in Setauket this past summer.


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

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

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

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

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

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

'When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit'

Organizers of the Stony Brook Film Festival hosted a virtual awards ceremony on Tuesday, Dec. 15. All of the festival winners were in attendance at the ceremony to accept their awards. 

Jury Award for Best Feature

‘The Subject’

The Subject, directed by Lanie Zipoy and written by Chisa Hutchinson, won the Jury Award for Best Feature. The Subject tells the story of a successful documentary filmmaker haunted by his last film, which captured the murder of his subject, a black teen in Harlem. The timely film explores the relationship between an artist and their subject and addresses the harsh reality of race and class among the privileged. The film features Jason Biggs, Aunjanue Ellis, Anabelle Acosta, Carra Patterson, Nile Bullock, and Caleb Eberhardt.

Audience Award for Best Feature

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, directed by Caroline Link and written by Anna Brüggemann, Judith Kerr, and Caroline Link, won the Audience Award for Best Feature. The film features Riva Krymalowski, Marinus Hohmann, Carla Juri, Oliver Masucci, and Justus von Dohnányi. When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit is a German film based on the beloved semiautobiographical children’s book by Judith Kerr. 

Anna is a nine-year-old living with her family in Berlin in 1933 when her life completely changes. To escape the Nazis, her father — a well-known Jewish journalist — quietly flees one night, and the rest of the family follows. Anna has to leave everything behind, including her beloved pink rabbit, and begins a new life full of challenges as a refugee abroad. A beautiful story for the whole family, filled with suspense, drama, sadness, and hope, with a timely message about being a refugee in a foreign land.

Jury Award for Best Short

They Won’t Last, a lighthearted short film written and directed by Portlynn Tagavi, won the Jury Award for Best Short. The film tells the story of a woman’s uncertain future when her hopeless boyfriend proposes after a friends’ perfect wedding.

Audience Award for Best Short

The Audience Award for Best Short was presented to Extra Innings. Written and directed by John Gray, the film tells the story of a reporter who interviewed the Boston Red Sox manager in an attempt to uncover secrets from his past. 

Spirit of Independent Filmmaking

The final award presented was the Spirit of Independent Filmmaking, which is awarded to a filmmaker whose work exemplifies the spirit and breadth of filmmaking where the focus is on the art and most often produced with an extremely limited budget. This year’s recipient was Higher Love. Written and directed by Hasan Oswald, the film is a harrowing and unblinking documentary about lives affected by hard drugs, shown with honesty, compassion, desperation, and hope. 

Like many other events around the country, this year’s Festival went virtual through a partnership with IndieFlix. Attendance soared with the virtual option as patrons across the country tuned in to watch the films with family and friends every weekend. Attendees sent regards from across the country, saying “what a relief to have this escape during this time,” and “these films are the only bright spot in our week.” 

“We were thrilled to be able to offer this virtually during the Pandemic, and we were so happy to receive such positive and uplifting feedback from our patrons. The arts are needed now more than ever, and we can’t wait to get back to offering world-class programming in person as soon as it’s safe to do so. Until then, we’ll keep getting creative with virtual programming,” said Alan Inkles, Director of the Stony Brook Film Festival and the Staller Center for the Arts.

The Staller Center for the Arts also announced on Tuesday night that virtual films will continue. Patrons can purchase a Spring Movie Pass to view 14 films for only $40. Films will be offered virtually throughout the Spring using the IndieFlix app. Additionally, the center will continue to provide virtual arts and education outreach and other virtual programming options throughout the year. Visit or for more information.

The Gurwin Jewish Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Commack recently announced the winners of their 27th annual Gurwin Photo Contest. Thirty winning photos were chosen from among more than 450 entries for permanent display in the 460-bed nursing and rehabilitation facility. 

Taking top prize of Best in Show this year was Jan Golden for her photo “Happy Family.” Best in Show runner up was Barbara McCahill for “Three Amigos.” Both photographers are from Stony Brook. 

In light of the times and in the interest of safety, the awards ceremony was held virtually via Zoom, and included video commentary by winning contestants. Zoom participants enjoyed a slideshow presentation of the year’s winning selections, as well as winners from past contests. 

The virtual format made it possible to have winners send in prerecorded videos of themselves, offering an inside look at the story behind their photos, their love for photography and their thoughts on what it means for their photos to be selected as winners in the Gurwin Photo Contest.

Gurwin’s renowned photo contest is much anticipated each year. The striking photos hung in the Center’s Tiffen Gallery — named for perennial contest sponsor The Tiffen Company after founder Nat Tiffen — are a signature element of the warm and welcoming environment at Gurwin. Each year, winning portraits are added to the gallery, with older photos moved to resident units for year-round enjoyment. 

More than 1000 photos now adorn the walls of the nursing and rehabilitation center and are admired daily by residents, staff and visitors alike.

Tony Lopez (Tony Lopez Photography) and Chris Appoldt (Chris Appoldt Photography) served as judges for the contest. Residents and staff members also participated in the selection process, choosing winners in the “Resident/Staff Selections” category. 

Photos not selected for display are utilized by Gurwin’s Therapeutic Recreation team as inspiration for art therapy projects, as well as for reminiscence programs for those with memory impairment, deeming every submission a “winner.”

“The community support we have received since the Contest’s inception nearly three decades ago is remarkable and serves to enhance the beauty of our Center,” said Stuart B. Almer, President and CEO of the Gurwin Healthcare System, of which the Gurwin Jewish Nursing & Rehabilitation Center is a part.

“The installation of the new artwork throughout our Center is something we all look forward to, and we are particularly touched by the continued support of the community during such a challenging year,” he added.

The Gurwin Photo Contest opens each year for submissions on February 15. Information on the contest can be found at

Best in Show

‘Happy Family’ by Jan Golden/Stony Brook

Best in Show Runner-up

‘Three Amigos’ by Barbara McCahill/Stony Brook

Action/Sports Category

Grand Prize

‘Barrel Racer’ by Frank DiBenedetto/Coram

Honorable Mention 

‘Fighter Planes Chasing Eagles’ by Jane Solomon/Old Bethpage

Altered/Enhanced Category

Grand Prize 

‘American Eagle’ by Mike DiRenzo/East Yaphank

Honorable Mention 

‘Boat Ride Around’ by Ellen Gallagher/Melville

Children’s Category

Grand Prize 

‘Sibling Love’ by Debbie Monastero/Bohemia

Honorable Mention 

‘Here I Come’ by Sarah Holmstrom/Smithtown

Landscapes Category

Grand Prize

‘Richardson Highway’ by Carol Goldstein/Setauket

Honorable Mention 

‘Napali Coastline’ by Deidre Elzer-Lento/Northport

Long Island/ NY Category

Grand Prize 

‘The Hot Dog Stand’ by Robert Guido/Huntington

Honorable Mention 

‘East End Americana’ by Dianne Booth/Bohemia

Nature Category

Grand Prize 

‘Blue and His Fish’ by Carol Goldstein/Setauket

Honorable Mention 

‘Solo Bloom’ by Jan Golden/Stony Brook

People Category

Grand Prize 

‘Torah Scribe’ by Herb Knopp/East Northport

Honorable Mention 

‘Calling It a Day’ by Tom Caruso/Smithtown

Pets Category

Grand Prize 

‘Best Friends’ by Sarah Holmstrom/Smithtown

Honorable Mention  

‘I Got Caught!’ by Deidre Elzer-Lento/Northport

Still Life Category

Grand Prize 

‘Workbench’ by Robert Oliva/Smithtown

Honorable Mention 

‘Just Hanging’ by Deborah Jahier/Huntington Station

Travel Category

Grand Prize 

‘Queenstown’ by Meghan Scherer/East Northport

Honorable Mention 

‘Three Brothers’ by Carol Milazzo-DiRenzo/East Yaphank

Wildlife Category

Grand Prize 

‘Dinner Time’ by Debbie Monastero/Bohemia

Honorable Mention 

‘Puffin Interaction’ by Bobbie Turner/Bohemia

Student Category

Grand Prize 

‘Alone in the Unknown’ by Anne Koszalka/East Williston

Honorable Mention 

‘Aspen After Dark’ by Joshua Sukoff/Huntington

Resident/Staff Selections

‘Can I Help You’ by Alan Sloyer, M.D.

‘New Mother’ by Bobbie Turner

‘Baby Kit Fox Leaving Its Den’ by Chuck Goodman

‘Facetime Surprise’ by Michael Oross

Thanks to all the children who entered Times Beacon Record News Media’s Thanksgiving Coloring Contest! The second annual event had creative kids across our coverage area sharpening their colored pencils and breaking out the markers. Congratulations to 7-year-old Emily C. of Port Jefferson Station and 5-year-old Charlee H. of Sound Beach for being this year’s winners. They both received a $25 gift certificate to Chocolate Works in Stony Brook. Special thanks to Chocolate Works for sponsoring our contest! Happy Thanksgiving!

Tom Manuel, second from left, and The Jazz Loft's Brass Equity Band

By Heidi Sutton

The T. Bayles Minuse Mill Pond Park in Stony Brook suffered extensive wind damage during Tropical Storm Isaias on Aug. 4. Photo by Rita J. Egan

Last Thursday, Nov. 12, the Ward Melville Heritage Organization (WMHO) hosted a New Beginnings Virtual Party fundraiser to benefit the restoration and maintenance of a very special place — the T. Bayles Minuse Mill Pond Park aka the Stony Brook Duck Pond. Located along Main Street in Stony Brook Village adjacent to the Grist Mill, the charming park has been enjoyed by countless families over the years.

This past summer Tropical Storm Isaias ripped through the park and uprooted over a dozen trees. There was also major damage to the park’s Braille engraved handrails, the borders maintaining the gardens and the walkways along the pond.

The 90 minute live Zoom event was hosted by Richard Wiese, President of The Explorer’s Club in NYC and host of PBS’s Born to Explore and co-host of Weekends with Yankee.

News 12 reporter Elisa DiStefano

Now living in Connecticut, Wiese grew up in Head of the Harbor and has always had a special connection to the park. “I just have so many fond memories of the Mill Pond. The more I travel around the world, the more I see how special and unique the Stony Brook area is. I can actually say that the Village of Stony Brook may be even prettier than it was in the 1960s when I first became familiar with it,” he said.

The fun evening included an appearance by award-winning reporter and News 12 host of Road Trip Close to Home, Elisa DiStefano; and host of Fox Nation: Celebrate America and five-time New York Times bestselling author, including George Washington’s Secret Six, Brian Kilmeade. The event also featured performances by Tom Manuel and The Jazz Loft’s Equity Brass Band; America’s Got Talent finalist, Sal “the Voice” Valentinetti; and comedian Rich Walker.

Comedian Rich Walker

DiStefano, who grew up in Hauppauge, visited the park right after the storm and covered the story for News 12. “Stony Brook Village I grew up going to as a treat … Because of the extensive damage [from the storm] it looked like a war zone that day but meeting Gloria Rocchio [President of the WMHO] and her team and seeing their positivity, there was no doubt in my mind that they would do everything they could to restore the area to what it was before,” she said.

Kilmeade, who hosted the evening’s interactive history challenge, “A History Mystery,” lauded Rocchio and the WMHO for keeping the past and Ward Melville’s vision alive. “You can go to [Stony Brook Village] and you really think you’ve gone back 200 years … during the holidays it looks like a movie set. I believe that’s what Ward Melville wanted. He wanted everyone to remember what it was like. While we move forward with progress we can still go back in time.”

Sal “The Voice” Valentinetti

The virtual party was the perfect instrument to introduce the WMHO’s New Beginnings online auction to raise money for this wonderful cause. Available through Dec. 16, it features items starting at $50 and covers everything from travel, fashion, art, antiques, food and wine, health and wellness and unique experiences. Generously donated auction items include a private four-person fishing charter, a family portrait session, a military tank ride, dinner for 4 aboard a superyacht, pizza every month for a year, a golf outing for four, an exclusive champagne toast and drinks for six at the Explorer’s Club with Richard Wiese, a trip to Barbados and much, much more.

The New Beginnings Online Auction is as easy as eBay with free registration to bid on the auction items. You will be notified if someone outbids you and you can bid again and again. The successful bidder’s card will not be charged until the last day of the auction — at midnight on Dec. 16, giving guests plenty of time to compete for a good cause.

100% of the funds generated from this event will support the restoration and maintenance of the T. Bayles Minuse Mill Pond Park.

To register for the New Beginnings Online Auction, please visit For more information, please call 631-751-2244.

Take a chance! You could win this "Cool as a Cucumber Melon" beauty box & canvas print and much more. Photo from FRA

In lieu of its annual Holiday Gift Fair, The Farmingville Residents Association has launched an online Holiday Gift Raffle at RallyUp. Take a chance to win some wonderful gifts for the holiday season at through Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. Drawing will be held on Dec. 16 at 7:30 p.m. Proceeds will help to support the FRA and the work that they continue to do in the community. For additional information, email [email protected] or call 631-260-7411.

First place winner of the adult and family category. Photo from WMHO

On October 30, the Ward Melville Heritage Organization (WMHO) hosted a Zoom meeting to announce the winners of the 30th Annual Scarecrow Competition.


Over 45 scarecrows lined the walkways of Stony Brook Village in October as the public voted for their favorites to receive cash prizes in three categories, a total of eight winners.

In the Previous Winners and Professionals Category, the Groomery came in second place and Mr. and Mrs. SpongeBob came in first place.

In the Adult and Family Category, there were three winners. In third place, Space Cadet, in second place, Harmony, and in first place, GRIMM.

In the Children’s Category there were also three winners. In third place, Baby Shark, in second place Chicken Love, and in first place, SpongeBob SquarePants.

To learn more about Ward Melville Heritage Organization and other upcoming events, including the 2020 Holiday Tree Competition, call 631-751-2244 or visit

by -
0 520
From left, Miss Long Island Teen 2019 Chloe Jones of North Babylon, Olivia Collins, Jasmine Williams and Miss Long Island 2019 Madison Argandona of Stony Brook. from J & L Dream Productions Inc

J & L Dream Productions, Inc., have announced their newest Long Island Queens! On October 4,  in the first virtual pageant, Olivia Collins from Wading River was crowned Miss Long Island Teen 2021 and Jasmine Williams from Elmont was crowned Miss Long Island 2021.

They will begin their year of appearances promoting their platforms and engaging in the Long Island Community. Olivia will be promoting her platform of, suicide and mental health awareness and Jasmine will be promoting increasing access to services for children with intellectual disabilities.

Next year, the 2021 queens will compete for the titles of Miss New York USA® and Miss New York Teen USA®, a title that is no stranger to the Long Island Pageants. Last year, Chloe Jones placed in the top 16 out of nearly 120 teens from across New York state. The award winners include:

Top 5 Finalists Miss

Miss Long Island 2021, Jasmine Williams, Elmont; 1st Runner Up, Samantha Trocchia, Franklin Square; 2nd Runner Up, Maxine Cesar, Valley Stream; 3rd Runner Up, Aterahme Lawrence, Greenpoint; and 4th Runner Up, Jamilah Silver, Middle Island

Top 3 Finalists Teen

Miss Long Island Teen 2021, Olivia Collins, Wading River; 1st Runner up, Isabella Scuteri, Medford; 2nd Runner Up, Jennifer Argueta, Hempstead

Other Award Winners

Miss Photogenic Teen: Alexa Mazzamuto, Plainview; Miss Photogenic: Jillian Dunne, Seaford; Community Queen Miss: Nicole Manza, Lynbrook; Directors Award Teen: Olivia Collins, Wading River; Directors Award Miss: Samantha Mastronardi, Port Jefferson Station; and Pageantry Spirit Award: Melanie Weidman, Sound Beach.

Also, I Am An Inspiration Teen: Keiry Martinez, Amityville; I Am An Inspiration Miss: Tiffany Bonet, Uniondale; Leader of Tomorrow Award Teen: Emily Smeich, Rocky Point; Leader of Tomorrow Award Miss: Alexandra Vernice, Garden City; Leader of Tomorrow Award Miss: Meena Elango, Garden City; People’s Choice Teen: Aaliyah Flores, Hauppauge; and People’s Choice Miss: Christina Bove, Oceanside.

To follow their journey to the state title or to apply to compete for the dream of a lifetime, visit