Holidays

Pick out your favorite pumpkin!

From Sunday, Sept. 27 to Saturday, Oct. 31, St Thomas of Canterbury Episcopal Church, 29 Brooksite Drive, Smithtown will be selling pumpkins of all sizes at its giant pumpkin patch! Hours are Mondays through Fridays from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m.; Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. Pick the best for carving, decorating or painting. Masks are required with social distancing. Questions? Call 631-265-4520.

‘Spookley the Square Pumpkin’

In partnership with the Smithtown Historical Society (SHS), the Smithtown Center for the Performing Arts presents a performance of “Spookley the Square Pumpkin: The Musical,” the story of a square pumpkin living in a round pumpkin patch, in the open air outdoor space behind the SHS’s Roseneath Cottage, 239 E. Main St., Smithtown on Oct. 10, 12, 17, 18, 24, 25 and 31 at 11 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. Masks are required for this socially distanced production. All seats are $18 at www.smithtownpac.org.

Rabbi Chaim Grossbaum sounds the Shofar, a hollowed-out ram's horn used to usher in Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Photo from Village Chabad

By Rabbi Chaim Grossbaum

Can we cancel 2020? Like simply skipping directly to 2021? Will anyone be upset about it?

I have seen many funny memes about 2020. But one particular meme got me to laugh pretty hard. It’s actually not about 2020 but about the current Jewish calendar year we are about to close, 5780.

“They say our actions on the High Holidays determine what will be decreed for the upcoming year. So whatever the heck you guys did last year, please don’t do it again!”

LOL.

After LOL’ing, it got me thinking about “cancelling 2020” and “cancelling 5780.” And then, a quote came to mind. A quote that is simply so perfect for our situation.

The quote is from Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe. He was imprisoned and tortured in Soviet Russia because of his work to spread Judaism behind the Iron Curtain.

After he was released from prison, his disciples asked him how he felt about it. He replied, “If I would be offered millions to experience one more moment of suffering – I wouldn’t buy. And if anyone would want to pay me millions to take away one moment of my suffering – I wouldn’t sell!”

The Rebbe didn’t elaborate further, but I think that the message is simple. Challenges are difficult, but they can also uplift you. One should never choose to experience challenges, but in hindsight we can appreciate how it made us better.

So I don’t want to cancel 5780.

Not the moments that forced me to take a step back from the hustle of life.

Not the moments that reminded me what’s important and what’s less important.

Not the new appreciation of what is essential, and what is not truly essential.

Not the beauty I saw all around me, when the entire country simply rallied to help one another.

Not the feeling of closeness to G-d when I prayed from the bottom of my heart that things should get better already.

Not the time spent with my family with very little distraction.

Do I want more of it? Not even if you pay me millions. But I do know that 5780 had many gifts. Hidden, but gifts nonetheless.

Onward and upward!

May we all be blessed with a Shana Tova U’metuka. A happy, healthy and sweet new year up ahead for ourselves and our loved ones.

Rabbi Chaim Grossbaum is the senior rabbi and spiritual leader at the Village Chabad Center for Jewish life & Learning in East Setauket. Visit EnjoyHighHolidays.com for a schedule of COVID-safe outdoor holidays at Village Chabad. Masks, social distancing, and preregistration is required. To RSVP for a “60 Minute Power Hour” Rosh Hashanah service and Shofar blowing on Sept. 20, visit MyVillageChabad.com/HHPowerHour.

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More than a hundred local residents attended a Fourth of July event sponsored by the Rocky Point VFW Post 6249 and Rocky Point/Sound Beach Chamber of Commerce. Photo by Kyle Barr

Well over 100 people crowded in the empty lot in front of the Rocky Point VFW Post 6249 building and behind Broadway Market July 4 to celebrate Fourth of July and honor those passed veteran family members from the community.

Last month, the Rocky Point/Sound Beach Chamber of Commerce announced an initiative to honor passed veterans with banners hung all along Broadway and King Road. For the Fourth of July, the local groups hung 33 pictures of veterans from the Rocky Point area. The chamber raised $3,300 from the community in order to raise the banners.

Those on the banners included people who had fought in WWII, Korea, Vietnam and the most recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Among the many families in attendance, was the McCarrick family, who had three passed members of the clan up on those banners. This included the elder McCarrick’s brother Hugh and Kevin’s father William, mother Phyllis and uncle Thomas, all of whom participated in the Navy during WWII. Family and friends of Staff Sergeant Louis Bonacasa, of the U.S. Air Force who was a bronze star and purple heart recipient, were also there to remember his life.

As families sat in the small lot with groups of chairs distanced from each other, chamber and VFW leaders led the crowd in thanking vets for their sacrifices. Included in the event was the usual singing of the national anthem and the reading of the Declaration of Independence by multiple local residents.
“As you celebrate with your family and close friends, I ask you to honor all American patriots,” VFW Commander Joe Cognitore said to the assembled crowd. “They are the ones who allowed us the freedom to celebrate today.”

When Cognitore said he joined with the VFW in the 70s, nearly everyone there was a veteran of WWII. Now, he said, they are down to just two living members who participated in that long-ago war.
Chamber President Gary Pollakusky said though the area has been hit hard because of the coronavirus, “We are strong, we are fighters, and we will all get through this.”

He referenced people he called “keyboard warriors” who “stoke fires rather than build bridges.” As compared to the “doers,” which he said included the veterans and people who helped put on the ceremony.

The names of all those hung on the banners were read out and a bell tolled in their honor, with those men’s and women’s families standing when each was called in turn.

The banners will be kept up throughout July. The chamber is looking for people to submit names for next year’s ceremony, which could include deceased veterans, living vets and active duty service members or any other military heroes the community wishes to recognize. They are also asking for additional donations for next year.

Local conservative group Setauket Patriots hosted what they called a Patriots Day Parade July 4 in place of the normal Fourth of July parade hosted by the Port Jefferson Fire Department. Photo by David Luces

A caravan of cars, motorcycles and other vehicles drove down Port Jefferson’s Main Street to celebrate the Fourth of July.

The Patriot Day Parade, which was hosted by the Setauket Patriots, a local conservative group based on social media, was put together fairly quickly as organizers were able to obtain the necessary permit and approval from the village within the past week.

Despite the local fire department’s decision to cancel its annual parade, the Setauket Patriots group previously stated it wanted the opportunity to do something to mark Independence Day. A representative from the group said the parade would not be a political event. The majority of people who lined the sidewalks waved American flags and wore red, white and blue. Though there were a handful of individuals in red MAGA hats and some participants who drove past with Trump 2020 and Thin Blue Line flags.

James and Flo McAvey of Port Jefferson, were a part of the crowd and were glad there was an event to commemorate the important American holiday.

“The village’s [annual] parade always has a big turnout, but I’m glad there is something going on to show patriotism toward America,” James McAvey said. “I know this was kind of last minute, I don’t think a lot of people knew about this. I think there could have been more spectators if they had more notice.”

Barry Issberner of Port Jefferson, said he thought the decision to not have the usual annual Fourth of July parade was a big mistake.

“I understand the concern, but to call off the whole Fourth of July parade because they were worried people weren’t smart enough to protect themselves was wrong,” he said. “I’m glad someone else picked it up and ran with it.”

Issberner was seen waving a big American flag throughout the parade, adding that it was important to be at the event.

“I wanted to come out and help celebrate the birth of America,” the Port Jeff resident said. “It’s important for the country to pull together. I thought the turnout was pretty good, we had a good amount of cars go by. For something that was last-minute organized, it got a good crowd to come out.”

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. File photo by Alex Petroski

Even as Suffolk County prepares for the final phase of its economic reopening this Wednesday, people came to Fire Island during Fourth of July celebrations, where they reportedly violated social distancing and face covering rules.

After all the work to reduce the spread of the virus in Suffolk County and the economic and personal sacrifices designed to save lives, County Executive Steve Bellone (D) was disheartened by images of people on Fire Island and in Montauk who ignored public health rules.

Bringing groups of people within six feet of each other without wearing face coverings is “just dumb,” Bellone said. “It doesn’t make sense. The way that we will undo all of the progress that we have made is to simply stop using common sense.”Such flouting of rules designed to protect the public “is unacceptable” and will result in enforcement actions, Bellone said.

Future incidents in which people don’t follow health guidelines can result in tickets from the police department. The tickets are a Class B Felony.

Bellone urged residents to remain safe so that the county can consider reopening schools and so businesses that have been able to survive the earlier shutdown can continue to rebuild.

The Suffolk County Police Department received 1,160 firework-related calls from Friday through Sunday.

Viral Numbers

The number of people who tested positive for COVID-19 was 43, which represents a 1.1 percent positive rate among the 3,812 people tested.

The total number of people who have tested positive for the virus was 41,685. The number of people who have had a positive antibody test, who have not had symptoms of the disease but whose bodies have developed antibodies, is 19,978.

Hospitalizations declined by three to 63, while the number of people in the Intensive Care Units was 16, which is also down by three.

Hospital bed use was at 64 percent. The occupancy of ICU beds was at 56 percent.

Over the last day, 13 people were discharged from Suffolk County hospitals.

One person died from complications related to COVID-19. The total number of deaths for Suffolk County increased to 1,984.

Stock photo

The Suffolk County Volunteer Firefighters Burn Center at Stony Brook University Hospital has ten safety tips this July 4th Weekend as families continue to practice social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.

Many will spend the holiday in their backyards for barbecues, cookouts or build fire pits where there’s a greater risk to sustain a burn injury. To avoid injury, Dr. Steven Sandoval of SBU Hospital says “The best way to do this is to prevent the burn in the first place with safety tips and precautions to eliminate potential dangers.”

1. Fireworks are safe for viewing only when being used by professionals.

2. Sparklers are one of the most common ways children become burned this holiday, even with a parent’s supervision.

3. Do not have children around any fireworks, fire pits, barbecues or hot coals. Teach them not to grab objects or play with items that can be hot. Go through a lesson where they learn to ask permission.

4. Limit the use of flammable liquids to start your fire pits and barbecues. Use only approved lighter fluids that are meant for cooking purposes. No gasoline or kerosene.

5. Don’t leave hot coals from fire pits and barbecues laying on the ground for people to step in.

6. When cleaning grills, the use of wire bristle brushes can result in ingestion of sharp bristle pieces requiring surgery.

7. If you are overly tired, and consumed alcohol, do not use the stovetop, fire pit or a fireplace.

8. Stay protected from the sun. Use hats and sunblock, and realize that sunblock needs to be reapplied after swimming or after sweating.

9. Use the back burners of the stove to prevent children from reaching up and touching hot pots and pans.

10. Always use oven mitts or potholders to remove hot items from the stove or microwave. Assume pots, pans and dishware are hot. 

Attendees and marchers during the annual Port Jefferson Fourth of July parade in 2019. File photo by Kyle Barr

*Update* Officials confirmed Thursday, July 2 the Port Jefferson Village board was issuing a permit for a car parade this Saturday after the permit was deemed complete by Village Administrator Joe Palumbo. 

Original Story:

After the Port Jefferson Fire Department announced it was canceling this year’s Fourth of July parade due to the ongoing pandemic, a local conservative group announced it would host its own parade to mark the standout American holiday. However, this new community-run parade has made some waves within the village because of the event’s political undertones.

The Setauket Patriots, a local right-wing social media group, established the event they called Patriot Day Parade which was advertised on Facebook. They invited local fire departments, floats, classic cars or anyone else looking to participate. Because of concerns with distancing, Village of Port Jefferson officials requested the parade take place in vehicles. The Setauket Patriots also advertised for people to wear masks.

“All politics aside, this is not a political event, all people are invited,” said a representative of the Setauket Patriots who asked not to be named so as to not be attacked on social media. “We should come together for the birth of our nation.”

The parade is scheduled to meet up at 10 a.m. at Railroad Avenue then start marching at 11. The Facebook event said it has been in contact with Suffolk County Police who will escort the parade and close all streets along the route, though police did not respond to requests for confirmation. The route will take it down Main Street, take a left on West Broadway and stop in front of Village Hall where it will disburse, according to Village Administrator Joe Palumbo.

The parade has at least partially been in response to a recent protest march held in Port Jefferson. The Setauket Patriots description of their parade on Facebook incorrectly states that the Village of Port Jefferson canceled the regular July 4 parade, as that event is instead handled annually by the fire department. The post points to the recent Black Lives Matter march held in Port Jefferson June 18, which village officials granted a permit for, as why a 4th of July parade should be hosted as well. That June protest was created by students at Stony Brook University, who submitted the permit application which was unanimously approved by the village board at its June 15 meeting.

The Setauket Patriots’ post said that march shut down Main Street for four hours, but a TBR News Media reporter who was on the scene said it only lasted for two, and after holding speeches at Village Hall the crowd quickly disbursed.

The Setauket Patriots also wrote that despite comments from detractors that the parade would be a rally for President Donald Trump (R), the march “is a July 4th Parade PERIOD.”

“It’s not a Trump rally, but anyone who attends is free to wave whatever flag they want because that’s what this country  is built on,” the post continued.

As of Tuesday, June 30, village officials said they have worked through the application with a Setauket Patriots representative. The group paid the application and safety fees attached to the permit application, which has been sent for review. Because the next official village meeting is scheduled for July 6, Palumbo said the village trustees and mayor are to be polled on the application, but no decision has been made as of time of reporting. Because July 4 is a federal holiday, the decision on the application must be made before that date.

In mid-June, the Port Jefferson Fire Department announced it would not be hosting its annual parade, and in a letter, Todd Stumpf, Port Jefferson Fire Department chief, cited COVID-19 concerns as why it was being canceled.

In May and early June, the village considered hosting its annual fireworks show at a later date than July 4, but by June 15 had canceled the show it usually hosts at East Beach, with officials citing safety needs and an inability for people to socially distance considering the numbers of crowds who usually come down for the annual display.

This post was updated July 1 with a comment from a Setauket Patriots representative.

Fireworks Cupcakes

By Barbara Beltrami

When it’s not dark enough yet for fireworks or when the fireworks are over and you’re hankering for a nice cup of coffee, it’s time to bring out the dessert. The following recipes are delicious finishes to a long day celebrating our independence They all are patriotically correct red, white and blue and sure to please.

Fireworks Cupcakes

YIELD: Makes about 2 dozen cupcakes

INGREDIENTS: 

For the cupcakes:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 2/3 cups sugar

3 egg whites, at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

1 cup vanilla cookie crumbs

For the frosting:

3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

6 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 1/2 tablespoons milk

Red, white and blue sprinkles

Star sprinkles 

DIRECTIONS:

For the cupcake batter:

Preheat oven to 350F. Line 24 cupcake pans with cupcake papers. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add one egg white at a time beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. In another large bowl, thoroughly combine flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition. Fold in cookie crumbs. 

Fill prepared cupcake tins two-thirds full; bake about 22 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pans, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. 

For the frosting:

In a large bowl combine the butter, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract. Add the milk very gradually to form a stiff frosting; beat until smooth. Spread the frosting on cooled cupcakes; top with sprinkles. Serve with coffee, milk or fruit punch.

Fourth of July Pie

YIELD: Makes 8 servings

INGREDIENTS: 

One baked 9” pastry crust

1 pint raspberry sorbet, softened

2 cups sliced strawberries

1 pint strawberry ice cream, softened

2 cups blueberries

1 cup sweetened whipped cream

DIRECTIONS:

Spread baked pastry crust with raspberry sorbet; top with half the sliced strawberries; and freeze for one hour. Spread strawberry ice cream evenly over the strawberries; top with half the blueberries; freeze two hours. Top with whipped cream; arrange remaining berries in an attractive pattern on top. Let sit in refrigerator half an hour before serving or freeze, covered, for up to 48 hours. Serve with coffee, milk or fruit punch

Strawberry, Raspberry and Blueberry Cornmeal Cobbler

Strawberry, Raspberry and Blueberry Cornmeal Cobbler

YIELD: Makes 8 servings

INGREDIENTS: 

1 pint blueberries

1 pint raspberries

1 pint strawberries, hulled and halved

1/2 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

2/3 cup flour

1/3 cup yellow cornmeal

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 cup milk

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease an 8” x 8” square baking dish. In a large bowl toss together the berries, the half cup sugar and cornstarch.; transfer to baking dish. In a large bowl with mixer on medium speed, beat together the one-third cup sugar and butter until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes; add egg and vanilla and beat until well blended.

In a small bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Add half the flour mixture to the butter mixture; beat on low speed just until combined; beat in the milk, then the remaining flour mixture. Drop the dough by spoonfuls onto the berries; bake until berries are bubbly and top is golden, about 45 minutes to one hour. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

 

Somber day marked with wreath-laying event

By Heidi Sutton

In Setauket, Memorial Day is usually marked with a parade from Main Street to Route 25A followed by a remembrance ceremony, but these are not usual times.

For the first time in recent years the parade was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, Veterans of Foreign War Post 3054, which hosts the Three Village Memorial Day Parade each year, decided to hold a brief wreath-laying ceremony at Setauket Veterans Memorial Park to memorialize those who have given the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country.

The park’s monument honors members of the community who perished in World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

 “As long as two comrades survive — so long will the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States render tribute to our heroic dead,” said Post Commander Jay Veronko, who led the 10-minute remembrance event.

“On this day, forever consecrated to our heroic dead, we are assembled once again to express sincere reverence. This monument represents the resting places of many departed comrades who served in all wars. Wherever the body of a comrade lies there the ground is hallowed,” Veronko recited. 

As in years past there was the traditional rifle salute, a prayer, the playing of taps and rousing renditions of our country’s national anthem and “God Bless America” by Arleen Gargiulo of Setauket, albeit with face masks while adhering to strict social distancing measures.

Kellen McDermott of Cub Scout Pack 18, Beverly C. Tyler representing the Three Village Historical Society, and Tim Still and Jack Cassidy from VFW Post 3054 presented wreaths.

“Our presence here is in solemn commemoration of all these men — an expression of our tribute to their devotion to duty, to their courage and patriotism. By their services on land, on sea and in the air, they have made us their debtors, for the flag of our nation still flies over a land of free people,” Veronko said.

The Post also paid their respects to their departed comrades Edward Arndt and Walter Denzler Sr. and “a solemn tribute to all comrades wherever they may rest.” The group also laid wreaths at the Setauket Village Green Memorial and the Stony Brook Village Memorial. 

Veronko thanked the participants for coming. “Hopefully next year we can have a parade,” he said.

Photos by Heidi Sutton