Events

Beverly C. Tyler and Donna Smith at the grave of Culper Spy Abraham Woodhull. Photo by Heidi Sutton

The Three Village Historical Society presents a virtual lecture via Zoom titled SPIES!  How a Group of Long Island Patriots helped George Washington Win the Revolution on Monday, Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. Join historian Bev Tyler and educator Donna Smith as they guide you through the Society’s SPIES! exhibit and bring to life the dramatic stories of Long Island’s Culper Spy Ring through photographs, maps and original documents. A Q&A will follow. $5 suggested donation. Free for TVHS members. To register, visit www.tvhs.org.

A scene from 'The Maltese Falcon'. Photo courtesy of Fathom Events

‘The Maltese Falcon’

In celebration of its 80th anniversary, “The Maltese Falcon” will be screened on Sunday, Jan. 24 at AMC Stony Brook 17 at 3 and 7 p.m., and Farmingdale Multiplex and Island 16 Cinema De Lux in Holtsville at 3 p.m. and on Jan. 27 at Island Cinema De Lux at 7 p.m., courtesy of Fathom Events and TCM Big Screen Classics. Academy Award® winner Humphrey Bogart stars as tough private detective Sam Spade in the classic, convoluted story of Spade’s involvement with a deadly band of international thieves who will lie, double cross and murder to obtain a small, jewel-encrusted statue known as The Maltese Falcon. For advance tickets, visit www.fathomevents.com.

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Theatre Three Food Drive

Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson kicks off the new year with a Theatre Three Cares food and personal care items drive to benefit the Open Cupboard food pantry at Infant Jesus Church on Saturday, Jan. 23 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Food items needed include Mac & cheese, canned pasta, peanut butter, jelly, coffee, sugar, flour, mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup, cooking oil, oatmeal, cereal, black and red beans, boxed milk, juice, canned fruit, healthy snacks, fresh chicken and ground beef and hot dogs.

Personal care items needed include shampoo, conditioner, soap, baby shampoo, baby wipes, deoderant, toothbrushes and toothpaste. 

Donations will be collected in the back of the theater on the south side of the building. They are also accepting donations of grocery store gift cards and cash to purchase whatever else is needed. If you prefer, you can remain in your vehicle for a contact-free drop off. For more information, call Brian at 631-938-6464.

Holtsville Hal’s handler, Greg Drossel, introduces Hal to the crowd during a previous celebration. Photo from Town of Brookhaven

Six more weeks of winter or an early spring? On Tuesday, Feb. 2, Town of Brookhaven Superintendent Daniel P. Losquadro will announce Holtsville Hal’s famous forecast in a virtual ceremony to stream live on Facebook from the Holtsville Ecology Site.

According to tradition, if a groundhog sees its shadow after stirring from hibernation on Groundhog Day, there will be six more weeks of winter weather; if not, spring should arrive early. Hal’s forecast will be revealed at approximately 7:25 a.m. 

“Our annual Groundhog Day celebration is an enjoyable tradition for many local families,” Superintendent Losquadro said. “While we are disheartened that we will not be able to open the ceremony to members of the public this year due to potential COVID risks, families will still be able to see Holtsville Hal and learn of his prognostication.”

The online ceremony, which will begin at 7:15 a.m., can be viewed at Facebook.com/brookhavenwildlifecenter and Facebook.com/danlosquadrohwysuperintendent. It will also be viewable on the Town of Brookhaven website, www.BrookhavenNY.gov/896/Groundhog-Day, throughout the day for those who miss the live stream.

Students take a career DNA test before talking to professionals. From Three Village Central School District

The Three Village Industry Advisory Board didn’t let a pandemic get in the way of its annual career fair for secondary school students in the school district.

Business owners, such as Michael Ardolino of Team Ardolino/Realty Connect USA, answered students questions virtually during the annual career fair. Photo from Three Village Central School District

On Jan. 14, the board, a partnership between the district and local businesses, presented its third annual career fair. The event gave students the opportunity to talk to local professionals after they took a “career DNA” test analysis to discover their strengths. However, instead of stopping by tables set up by business representatives, the teenagers checked into Google Meet sessions to take part in 20-minute seminars where professionals presented a quick overview of what their careers entailed and then gave the students a chance to ask questions.

To help participants to choose which sessions to attend, the career DNA results assigned each student a color for various strengths and businesses were also assigned the colors.

Ilene Littman, 3V-IAB coordinator and Ward Melville High School business teacher, said the fair provided students in grades 7-12 an opportunity “to explore and learn about careers in a virtual format.” This year 308 students registered, and 21 businesses participated. Students had the opportunity to learn about banking, real estate, dentistry, the medical and financial fields and more.

“Students navigated the virtual career fair based on their career DNA, which was matched up to businesses that shared similar traits to ensure those occupations/professions are uniquely suitable for each student,” Littman said. “Using this online platform to interact with business professionals was also excellent practice because it is most likely how today’s students will be screened in the initial stage of the interview process once they are ready to embark on their job searches to enter their chosen fields.”

Alan Baum, the school district’s executive director of Secondary Curriculum and Human Resources, said he was grateful for the work Littman put into organizing the event that he described as “tremendous.”

“Orchestrating such an event is difficult enough but bringing it to fruition during the pandemic and reimagining it as a virtual career fair was a herculean task,” he said.

Baum added he was also grateful for committee co-chair Michael Ardolino and all of the participating businesses that helped with the virtual career fair. Ardolino is also the founder and owner of Team Ardolino/Realty Connect USA.

“I am thrilled that we were able to provide our secondary students the opportunity to engage with a diverse representation of the business community in our continuing effort to help the students explore future career paths,” Baum said.

Ardolino said it was interesting to see the conversations that were going on in the different sessions and how well the virtual platform worked and could possibly lead to smaller presentations in the future such as a business owner talking about how to manage the company’s money and more.

Mike Lawton of Element Energy LLC noted there were more participants than he thought there would be, and the virtual format was perfect.

“I had some excellent questions from the students, and I enjoyed every minute of it,” he said.

File photo by Bob Savage

For the second year in a row, the Friends of St. Patrick have canceled the Miller Place-Rocky Point St. Patrick’s Day parade due to COVID-19 concerns. The announcement was made in a press release this week. “The safety of our marchers and supporters must take precedence over the joy the parade has been bringing to the North Shore of Brookhaven Town for over 70 years,” read the release. “We look forward to bringing the parade back, bigger and better than ever, in March 2022.”

Volunteers from Theatre Three gathered food and other assorted items for the Open Cupboard Food Pantry out of the Infant Jesus R.C. Church in Port Jefferson on Dec. 12. by Kyle Barr

By Kyle Barr

It might be the spirit of giving, or perhaps the lingering essense of Scrooge’s final transformation, but Theatre Three’s latest food drive of the year may have been their biggest one yet.

Even with Theatre Three having been effectively shut down because of COVID, its board members, staff and volunteers have continued to work to better the community. The group gathered food and other assorted items for the Open Cupboard Food Pantry out of the Infant Jesus R.C. Church in Port Jefferson Dec. 12. Their efforts stuffed the theater van plus a Toyota 4Runner with food a total of four times in just a few short hours. Well over 100 cars showed up, despite the rain, to offer the theater what they could.

For the holiday season, the group also hosted a toy drive, in which families from all over gave some pretty significant items.

“The toys, they were good quality toys — Star Wars, LEGOs, good stuff,” said Brian Hoerger, a board member and facilities manager for Theatre Three. Hoerger helped start the string of food drives this year after the beginning of the pandemic, when he and other community members donated 15 iPads to local hospitals. Those devices were desperately needed at the pandemic’s height, when patients needed them to communicate with family members no longer allowed inside hospital rooms. 

Though this is the sixth food drive held through Theatre Three, this latest effort ended the year with a bang.

“There was a lot of stuff today — we’re very happy,” said Theatre Three’s Executive Director Jeffrey Sanzel. “This was one of our most successful drives since the first one.”

The drive also gained over $900 in cash donations plus nearly $600 worth of gift cards. The day’s efforts were so successful that Hoerger held a second drive the following day for all the persons who could not come out on Saturday. The Theatre Three facility manager used some of the cash funds to purchase additional food for Open Cupboard.

Updated: The group will host another food drive on Saturday, January 23 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. outside Theatre Three. For more information, call 631-938-6464.

A BLAST FROM THE PAST The Huntington Historical Society presents a lecture on the town’s famed bobsled races on Jan. 21. Photo from HHS

Lunch and Learn 

Join the Huntington Historical Society for a virtual Lunch and Learn program titled Huntington’s Bobsled Races on Jan. 21 at noon. Enjoy your own lunch while learning about this Huntington tradition, which was held between 1907 and 1920 as part of Huntington’s annual Winter Carnivals. Suggested donation is $10. To register, visit www.huntingtonhistoricalsociety.org. For more information, call 427-7045, ext. 401.

The Brookhaven landfill was a topic of conversation at the MLK event. Google maps

By Tom Lyon

More than 110 folks zoomed in last Saturday afternoon, Jan. 16, for the annual, and first-ever virtual, Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Festival and forum presented by Building Bridges in Brookhaven. The Rev. Gregory Leonard, of the Bethel AME Church in Setauket opened the afternoon with a challenge: “To understand that we are all in this together.”

Abena Asare was one of the featured speakers during the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Festival and forum. Photo from Abena Asare

As in the past, Building Bridges held two informative programs with guest presenters and music. Food was OYO — on your own — but the popular Share Fair Exchange for nonprofit groups had to be postponed until spring. Four speakers addressed two long simmering issues for Long Island and presented us with an urgent call to action for each.

Two stories of toxic ecological damage to our Island and to some of our most vulnerable neighbors came first.

Stony Brook University history associate professor Abena Asare, one of the leaders of the newly established Brookhaven Landfill Action and Remediation Group, gave a sobering history of the last remaining waste disposal facility in the Town of Brookhaven. She provided a parallel history of its growth at a time when nearby communities were becoming alleged victims of racially charged real-estate practices. A local elementary school and largely minority community there have had severe health issues and high death rates that are arguably the highest for any community on Long Island. 

As the landfill has grown to 192 acres and more than 200 feet in height, plans are developing for its closure by 2024. Meanwhile, it still continues to accept waste materials for 1.9 million Long Islanders even though Brookhaven Town’s population is only about 500,000 people. “This is a regional problem,” Asare said. “We need a regional solution. Landfills are closing across the country in environmentally safe ways every day, but we are sadly way behind.”

Next Irma Solis, director of the Suffolk County Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union, presented a history of the illegal toxic dumping and subsequent closing of Roberto Clemente Park and playground in Brentwood. The tragic story is also one of a powerful and ultimately successful community response.

It took strong local organizing and a long legal battle for that minority community to get justice and to see the park and pool decontaminated and finally reopened in 2018 after a six-year closure. There were clear parallels in the two stories. As the session ended, we could hear Asare call to Solis, “You most definitely have to come and speak with our group.”

Two other guests — members of the New York State Poor People’s Campaign Rebecca Garrard from the state capital region and Michael O’Brien from Nassau — spoke about the rental housing and eviction crisis that looms ahead of New York and Long Island. Currently there is an estimated $3.5 billion in unpaid back rent today across New York state and the recently extended moratorium is clearly not a permanent solution, according to Garrard.

Garrard gave a sober and fact-filled presentation with a compelling argument for bipartisan cooperation on a national level as the only viable long-term solution. Without that, we may face an epidemic of homelessness in the near future.

O’Brien spoke of the need to empower and educate tenants about their rights in order to prevent abuse. He told stories of local private groups bringing attention to this issue and providing education and emergency assistance. These groups were inspiring examples of the type of service that Coretta Scott King spoke about in 1992 when she challenged Americans to turn Dr. King’s holiday into “a day on, not a day off.” 

A video of the entire program is available on the Building Bridges in Brookhaven Facebook page.

Building Bridges wants to thank the presenters, musicians Jamel Coy Hudson and John Schmeiser, Long Island Poor People’s Campaign, Setauket Presbyterian Church — especially the Rev. Ashley McFaul-Erwin — and the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship at Stony Brook for their assistance and support.

Tom Lyon is a co-founder of Building Bridges in Brookhaven.

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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 www.cshwhalingmuseum.org.