Pixabay photo

By Daniel Dunaief

Daniel Dunaief

We have friends who live close to us who are pregnant. Okay, that sounds weird, right? She’s pregnant, and he looks sheepish, like he’s not sure what’s coming.

That’s not entirely fair. He was socially awkward before he brought his small package of genetic material to the pregnancy party. Why would anyone imagine he would be any different in the months before he makes a head first dive down the rabbit hole into the wonders and challenges of parenthood?

Now, if their families are anything like others I’ve known, they are bound to have a wide range of pre and post delivery discussions.

“Are you going to name the baby after my side of the family?”

“Make sure you put sugar, spice and everything nice in the crib or the baby will become colicky like your Aunt Michelle. She was one of the most miserable babies we’ve ever seen and that’s because her mother forgot about the sugar and spice under the crib.”

One of the most fascinating and sometimes confounding parts of the baby discussion, which can extend well into the years that follow, is the family credit for various traits.

To wit, “He’s incredibly serious and focused just like his Uncle Oswald. That Oswald was a man with a purpose from the time he was born, just like your little baby Joey.”

Or maybe, “Morgan has the same broad smile, laugh or sense of humor as her Aunt Carol.”

Each family can dig in, sharing ways that the developing child has characteristics they are convinced come from one side of the family, often from the speaker who has a proprietary interest in propagating the enduring myth of a family heritage.

Such talk suggests somehow that heredity is much more important than environment. The credit can go beyond physical characteristics such as long eyelashes, rounded shoulders, or sparkling eyes: they can include artistic talent, an ability to relate to other people, or a proficiency for languages.

That somehow seems un-American. After all, we the people generally believe that hard work can help people become proficient in any area, developing the kind of talent that differentiates them in their field and allowing them to control their destiny.

Such strong genetic links, while providing an appealing way to connect to ancestors and to those who aren’t around to smile and play with their descendants, is akin, if you’ll pardon the pun, to linking someone’s last name to their profession.

“Oh, the Jones family? Sure, they all became teachers. The Berringtons went into the clothing business, while the Shimmers all became dentists. They all have such gifted dental hands.”

Such blanket statements about where someone’s exceptionalism originated also throws the other sides of the family into the shadows, as if their only role were to ensure the ongoing survival of the dominant and more important family tree.

Family trees, however, like the trees that people decorate around this time of year, have bilateral symmetry, with people decorating each side in popcorn, cranberries and/or holiday lights.

Rarely does anyone do a deep dive into the other side of a family, learning whether the Jones family had faster legs, a quicker wit, better grades or a stronger work ethic.

Then again, the point of these claims isn’t to be scientific, thorough or even fair. It’s a way to connect the children of today with those who came before. Even if people don’t believe in reincarnation, focus on genes, or contemplate the enduring qualities of any family culture, they might feel tremendous joy and comfort hoping that this person’s unwritten life includes future chapters that reflect a familial past that need not be exclusive to one branch, one side or one person.

Story weaving may help give a developing life context and meaning. Ideally, those attributes and connections may remind the family and this new person about the kind of strong and accomplished roots that can help him or her develop into the kind of person he or she chooses to be, which would be a win for everyone.

Bridal Shower, Pixabay photo

By Leah S. Dunaief

Leah Dunaief

This past weekend we traveled to Boston for a remarkable bridal shower. While I have been to many bridal showers before, this one was in honor of my first grandchild’s fiancee. Life is made up of firsts, of course, and we enjoy each of them in a special way. So up to Massachusetts we went for a new adventure.

I thought about my oldest grandson on the drive north. I still keenly remember the thrill of becoming a grandmother, of witnessing the beginning of the next generation. How lucky we grandparents are to reach that moment. I cherish a particular memory of having this adorable toddler running toward me as he entered the room, arms out for a hug, yelling “Grandma! Grandma!” on his arrival with his parents for a visit. Yes, I really was a grandma, I marveled then to myself, before scooping him up in my arms for a proper welcome. 

After all, it’s a rarefied club one can aspire to but one is powerless to join on one’s own.

And that little person, grown up now to a handsome man who gives bear hugs, is extending the family with a new chapter, and I was going to celebrate with his soon-to-be wife.

It’s a phenomenon, this marriage bit, when you think about it. Two people meet, they fall in love, decide they want to spend the rest of their lives together, and the next thing you know, a small army of strangers rush to hug you and welcome you to the family. That’s what happens at a bridal shower, even as the avowed purpose is to help the newly weds set up their home with small gifts. 

In addition, though, the two sides of the family get a chance to meet before the wedding, check each other out under joyful circumstances, then, no longer strangers, look forward to seeing each other at the nuptials. Maybe it’s not an accident that the shower is a women’s only affair. We have been known as the more critical of the sexes. If we have met and enjoyed the prospective extension of the family, the wedding will most likely go smoothly. Or so history might suggest.

Speaking of history, where did the idea of a bridal shower come from? 

Here are two stories. The first dates back to 16th century Holland, where gifts were given to the bride to prepare her for her new life as a married woman if either she was too poor to buy them herself or her father didn’t approve of the marriage and wouldn’t provide a dowry. One such instance involved a father who wanted his daughter to marry a wealthy pig farmer, but she insisted on marrying a miller, who was from a lower class. The girl’s friends then supplied gifts to help her start a home.

The second story is from the Victorian Era. Ladies in those days would gather to wish the bride well, bringing small gifts like notes and home goods. These would be put in an open parasol, and they would “shower” them over her.

Today the bride’s friends and female relatives gather to wish the new bride well and help prepare the home, and that is exactly what happened in the lovely club setting on the water that we attended. My grand daughter-in-law’s shower was organized by her friend since early childhood. The day was bright and sunny on the outside, and so was the mood inside. We met some of her friends, her immediate family, her aunts and cousins, and enjoyed a delicious brunch together. We traded stories of how some of the women had found their husbands, where they now lived, how many children they had, what sort of work they did, in short the usual conversations when strangers first meet. The hit of the day was the clever 1 1/2 year-old son of the hostess who roamed among us and tried to put his sneaker on my foot. Gifts were opened by the bride, pictures were taken, and then slowly we dispersed, promising to see each other at the wedding, now an extended family.

Nikola Tesla’s Wardenclyffe wireless station, located in Shoreham, as seen in 1904. Public domain photo

Tragedy recently struck our community.

The Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe, a regional and international treasure nestled in the heart of Shoreham, went up in flames last Tuesday, Nov. 21.

While the cause of the fire is unknown, the damages to the historical structure on-site are extensive. This sad news comes as the nonprofit organization was reaching its peak, embarking upon a $20 million redevelopment project that is now set back for some time.

Considerable effort and planning lie ahead to remediate the wreckage. Fortunately, we can all lend a hand in getting the center back on its feet.

On Tuesday, Nov. 28, center officials launched Mission Rebuild, a $3 million fundraising campaign to finance the necessary restoration work. This is a separate fundraiser from the $20 million campaign for site redevelopment. We also can empathize with the Tesla Center.

Historic preservation is an arduous, often expensive endeavor. Local not-for-profits and private benefactors invest their time and dollars in preserving historically and architecturally significant structures for our community’s benefit. These places connect us to our shared past, linking one generation of Long Islanders to the next.

If we fail to invest in historic preservation, then we run the risk of losing our sense of place and appreciation for the land. This very rootlessness can give way to unfettered demolition, development, sprawl and other ills that may imperil our collective way of life.

The brick building of revolutionary scientist Nikola Tesla’s laboratory at Wardenclyffe — its roof severely damaged by the fire — was designed by famed architect Stanford White, whose roots lie in Suffolk’s North Shore. This intersection of architectural and scientific history is unrivaled anywhere else, which is another crucial reason for us to intervene.

And what could be a more noble cause than science, that exploration into the depths of the unknown, unraveling the mysteries of the universe and elevating our human understanding?

Along the North Shore, we are blessed with a rich scientific tradition spanning several institutions, such as Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Brookhaven National Lab and Stony Brook University. Tesla’s lab is a part of that complex. Without it, our homegrown scientific community would be diminished.

As lovers of history, science, and community, we can all lend a hand in this effort. This is a call to people everywhere to help restore this vital place in our community and world.

To donate to Mission Rebuild, please visit www.indiegogo.com/projects/fire-at-tesla-s-lab-immediate-restoration-needed.

File photo by Raymond Janis

Searching for answers in Three Village school district

I noted with interest a recent article in The Village Times Herald [“Ward Melville principal surprise inquiry to remain private,” Nov. 23], in which we were informed that the erstwhile principal of Ward Melville High School, William Bernhard, had been “reassigned,” and has been replaced by a former assistant principal.

And furthermore, we are told by Superintendent Kevin Scanlon that “parents should not expect more about the surprise reassignment and investigation, and “transparency is not possible.” Reassuringly, however, Scanlon went on to say that “parents have nothing to worry about regarding their children’s education.”

While I have no doubt that Superintendent Scanlon has our best interests at heart, I think we would be well advised to remember the admonition given to us by President Ronald Reagan [R], which was “Trust, but verify.” According to the article, “Due to federal and state privacy laws, district representatives can’t discuss personnel matters – and they won’t be able to even after the issue is resolved.” But surely this need not be taken seriously, all of the time, even though it may be a “law.” And at the federal level, the prohibition of information leaks has evolved into a sort of suggestion or recommendation, rather than something that is absolutely inviolable. For example, ask the Supreme Court clerk who leaked the draft of the Roe v. Wade decision, or U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff [D-CA30] who routinely leaks information from meetings, often while the meetings are still in session.

Board President Susan Rosenzweig has suggested that we avoid “percolating speculation and hearsay on social media.” Accordingly, I have undertaken my own reliable research, and I have learned that Bill Bernhard was and still is an outstanding and highly respected math teacher, at the junior high school, senior high school and college levels. He currently teaches math courses at Stony Brook University, which begin at 2:30 p.m. after the high school classes have been completed. His grade on the SBU Rate My Professors website is 4.8 (out of 5), which is remarkably good. And I have it on good authority that Bill Bernhard has been seen in the Emma Clark Library, enthusiastically explaining the vagaries of higher mathematics to young students, and doing it very well.

It really is disappointing to learn from our elected officials that we can never hope to learn the true story about the unfortunate loss of a great teacher. Let us hope that they are mistaken.

George Altemose


Containment efforts and plans for restoration at Tesla Science Center

As many of you are aware, our beloved Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe was struck by a serious fire last night [Nov. 21].

Over 100 firefighters from 11 departments responded to the blaze, demonstrating extraordinary courage and determination throughout the night. To these heroes, we owe a debt of gratitude beyond words. We are immensely grateful for their commitment and bravery.

Given the ongoing activity, we strongly urge everyone to avoid visiting the site for your safety and to allow emergency services to operate unimpeded. We promise to keep you informed through regular updates on our website and social media channels.

The full extent of the damage is yet to be determined. In the coming days, our site engineer, historical architect and structural engineer, along with the Suffolk County Police Department, the Brookhaven Town fire marshal and the county’s Department of Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services, will conduct a thorough assessment. Their insights will be crucial in shaping our ongoing plans to restore and rebuild this historic landmark.

It brings a sense of relief to share that the structural integrity of the building, dating back to 1901, seems to have withstood the ordeal. This resilience is a testament to its original robust construction and durability.

We recognize the profound emotional impact this incident has had on our community and on our supporters from around the world. Rest assured, our commitment to transparency remains steadfast. We will provide accurate, timely information, countering any misinformation that may arise.

It is also important to note that, while we were poised to begin a significant renovation and restoration project, construction had not yet commenced, sparing us from additional complexities at this stage.

For ongoing updates and verified information, please visit our website at teslasciencecenter.org. Your support and understanding in these challenging times are invaluable. Together, we will navigate this crisis and emerge stronger, honoring the legacy of Nikola Tesla and the spirit of innovation, determination and resiliency that this center embodies.

Marc Alessi

Executive Director

Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe

Potential environmental and health risks of proposed railyard

Ads have appeared weekly on behalf of the Kings Park Rail transfer facility near Town Line Road and Old Northport Road. This would be privately-owned and run, accommodating waste, construction debris, incinerator ash, construction materials and anything else that can be shipped by rail to and away from Long Island. There are dozens of acres for tractor trailers and trucks, covered buildings and parking areas.

The latest Townline Rail ad discusses incinerator ash. It states household trash “which we all create” is burned. Incinerators also burn waste from businesses and industries which include chemicals, heavy metals, medical waste, electronics, batteries, pesticides, poisons, fluorescent bulbs, radioactive waste, carcinogenic asbestos and more. Some of the aforementioned are supposed to be banned but they can get into the waste stream anyway.

The ad states incinerator ash is not classified as a USDOT toxic material. Really? The 2017 DEC Huntington incinerator emissions statement includes quantities of the carcinogens, birth-defect-causing and neurological toxins like benzene, formaldehyde, PCBs, dioxins, lead, manganese, mercury, nickel, arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, zinc, hydrogen chloride, sulfuric acid, hydrogen fluoride, ammonia, tetrachlorodibenzofuran, particulates (carbon, silica), volatile organic compounds, aromatic hydrocarbons and more.

Incinerator ash is one of the most highly toxic and poisonous substances composed of superconcentrated hazardous materials. Spills, accidents and derailments occur. Rain-washed ash is dispersed. Explosions and fires are possible. Winds distribute ash particles when doors are open and in transit by trains and trucks. Furthermore, this is over a Suffolk County Department of Health Services-designated Article 7 deep recharge aquifer protection zone.

Do we want piles of this poisonous, cancerous material over our sole source of drinking water? This facility does not have to exist. It is a for-profit venture by the landowner. There are many residents, schools and health facilities in the area. The region’s drinking water, not to mention quality of life, are in jeopardy.

Public officials have a duty to protect us.

Mark Sertoff

East Northport

Thank you, voters

Dear Neighbor,

Thank you, voters of the 13th Legislative District, for reelecting me to the Suffolk County Legislature for my sixth term.

I appreciate your giving me the opportunity to serve you, and I will continue to be committed to ensuring the safety of our neighborhoods, exposing corruption and waste in county government, preserving open space and promoting economic development.

I look forward to working together with our new county executive-elect, Ed Romaine [R], and my colleagues to maintain and enhance our communities and to protect our taxpayers.

Again, thank you for your vote of confidence, and I look forward to working on your behalf.

Rob Trotta (R-Fort Salonga)

Suffolk County Legislator

13th Legislative District

Concerns over ethics overhaul in PJV

I am writing to express my concerns about the proposed ethics code for the Village of Port Jefferson. The establishment of an ethics counsel and the formulation of a new code have raised several questions that need to be addressed for the sake of transparency and fairness.

Firstly, it’s essential to understand who initiated the idea of appointing an ethics counsel and the specific instances that led to this decision. Have there been significant ethical breaches by past or current staff members that warrant this action?

Furthermore, the role of an on-call ethics counsel seems redundant considering the resources and guidance available through NYCOM [New York Conference of Mayors], a benefit of our membership in this statewide organization. One must ask if such an appointment is truly necessary or if it’s an added layer of bureaucracy and cost.

The goal of any ethics code should be clarity and ease of interpretation, minimizing the need for constant legal advice. However, the proposed code seems to leave much room for subjective interpretation and potential abuse. This ambiguity does not serve the residents of Port Jefferson but instead appears to protect the very entity to whom it is meant to govern.

A comparative analysis with other well-established ethics codes, like those in Suffolk County and New York City, might offer better models for us to follow. These codes are comprehensive, clear, and have stood the test of time and legal challenges.

In summary, the proposed ethics code and the appointment of an ethics counsel raise more questions than they answer. The residents of Port Jefferson deserve a code that is clear, fair and impartial, one that upholds the highest standards of ethics and governance.

Traci Donnelly

Port Jefferson

Open letter on Harborfront Park walkways

Dear Mayor Sheprow,

I am writing to express vehement opposition to the current asphalt paving project at Jeanne Garant Harborfront Park in Port Jefferson. The decision to pave every pathway in the park with asphalt, extending to the waterfront, is deeply concerning for a multitude of reasons. Asphalt is notorious for its heat retention, posing a significant risk to pets and children who regularly utilize the park. Additionally, its impermeability is a known contributor to flooding, particularly problematic given our proximity to the waterfront.

A committee of 60 residents under the leadership of former Mayor Jeanne Garant worked to design the park and former resident, Bob Tumilowicz, worked tirelessly to engineer this park. The original plan (dated Aug 1, 2022) did not call for the northern-most walkway to be touched, just the paths interior to the park. In particular, drainage of the grassy areas and crushed bluestone pathways was critical. They required careful consideration to prevent runoff and erosion. So the park was designed with deep underground trenching that contains perforated plastic pipe covered with gravel and crushed bluestone on top. This bluestone, gravel and underground piping allows for proper flow of rain and stormwater buildup.

Aesthetically, the use of asphalt in what is fundamentally a natural, nonurban space undermines the park’s natural beauty. It’s perplexing why alternatives that blend more harmoniously with the environment, like grasscrete, a permeable stamped concrete, were not seriously considered. These materials offer the added benefit of permeability, preventing water runoff and associated flooding, and are much more in tune with the park’s natural setting. If the water can’t be absorbed, it will run off, pool up and/or cause damage to the greenspaces or worse.

Your step toward using asphalt for all the pathways, including the one in which the main sculpture stands, is not necessary and is harmful to the environmental well-being and engineered design of the park. I, for one, stand against the asphalting of the park – a turn toward the hardening of the face of the village in spite of the hard work the original 60 members of the Harborfront Park committee put in when considering the beautification of this prime waterfront jewel.

Margot Garant

Port Jefferson

Editor’s note: The writer served as mayor of Port Jefferson from 2009-23.

Pixabay photo

By Daniel Dunaief

Daniel Dunaief

Rufus is not sure what to do. He’s never there first. He circles the yard carefully, looking back at the fence. Bob sits in his usual seat at the picnic table, talking on his phone.

He doesn’t want to run before the others arrive. He sits under a tree, closes his eyes and allows the smells to fill his ample nostrils.

“Hi,” chirps Peanut, jumping up to reach his face. “Hi, hi, hi, hi!”

“Back up,” Rufus barks, “you’re too close.”

“Sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry,” she says. Peanut repeats herself in that high tone that annoys Rufus. “Even though I can’t see red or green, I know that holiday sweater is hideous,” Rufus said.

Fifi lowers her head.

“On the plus side,” he adds, “your fur looks great.”

Fifi prances in approval. She likes it when others notice that she’s been to the groomer.

Rufus glances at Andrea, Fifi’s human. He likes the way she scratches his ears and looks directly in his eyes.

Finally, the rest of the crew races over, tongues hanging out, fur flying off Oscar as he skids to a stop.

After the customary butt smelling, Oscar, the golden retriever, speaks.

“You had Uncle Doug’s sweet potato?” he asks Cole, an apricot poodle. “Does that taste as good as it smells?”

Cole barks his agreement, although he eats it so quickly he barely tastes anything. “And you had asparagus,” Cole says to Rufus.

Rufus sticks out his tongue. He doesn’t get his usual treat from Bob during Thanksgiving unless he has a few pieces of asparagus, which he hates.

“Stories?” King demands.

A French Mastiff, King regularly reminds the group he has the shortest life expectancy so he can’t waste time on food chatter.

“Bob’s got a new girlfriend,” Rufus starts. “She reminded him to walk me earlier than usual. She makes him shut the bedroom door, but she makes up for it by giving me more leftovers.”

“Nice,” barks Roxie. “Glad someone had a good holiday.”

“What? What? What?” barked Peanut.

A basset hound, Roxie hates her name and her short legs. Her ears also annoy her because they fall in her water when she drinks

“My family had a huge gathering,” Roxie barks. “These new kids thought they could teach me to fetch. I don’t fetch. Do they think I’m a golden retriever?”

“Hey!” Oscar barks.

“No offense,” Roxie adds. “What about you?”

“Aunt Linda spent the entire dinner saying she shouldn’t eat garlic. She didn’t listen to herself and was in the bathroom for an hour, groaning and cursing. How about you, Cole?”

Cole is among the tallest dogs at the run, particularly after he went to the stylist. Cole wanders over to the water bowl, with the rest of the group following closely.

“Cole?” Fifi asks. It is one of the rare times she doesn’t repeat herself.

“We watched movies in the dark,” Cole shrugs.

“There’s more,” says Rufus. “What’s going on?”

“Audrey looked out the window and wiped her eyes all weekend,” Roxie says. “She kept whispering how much she missed her brother.”

“What happened?” Oscar asks.

“I don’t think she’s going to see him again,” Cole says. “When I leaned into her legs, she ran her wet hand over my face. Other than a few walks, she spent most of her time on the couch. She barely ate, so I didn’t eat much, either.”

“Sad, sad, said,” barks Fifi.

Rufus agrees.

“You did what you should have done,” King says, the folds under his lips turning down. “You’re going to help her and we’re going to need to help you.”

“Help? How?” Oscar asks. Whenever Oscar became anxious, he circled the water dishes at the run. He knocks one over.

“My bad,” he says.

“Cole drinks first,” King says. “And we let Cole go to Andrea before the rest of us. We all know she’s the favorite human.”

Fifi nods, indicating she would share.

“How about you, King?” Rufus asks.

“It was great,” King says. “My family welcomed a new baby. At first, they kept me away, but they slowly let me see him. We’re going to be friends.”

“How do you know?” asks Cole.

“He touched his hand to my nose. It was soft and wonderful. He made me feel so young,” King adds.

Pixabay photo

By Leah S. Dunaief

Leah Dunaief

Let’s take a look at how the stock market is doing these days and what we should be doing with it. On the whole, this has been a good year for stocks. Through the end of October of this year, the total return for Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index is 10.7 percent. While recent high interest rates paid by banks, money markets and treasury bonds have sucked some money away from equities, we might be further encouraged to get out of the stock market. Every time the Federal Reserve has raised rates with the intention of cooling down inflation, savers with cash have benefitted. Even short term treasuries are currently offering north of five percent return.

Don’t do it, according to Jeff Sommer, who writes, “Strategies,” for the New York Times  Sunday Business. Here is why.

A new study gives further evidence that buying and holding is the surest way to profit on the stock market. Wei Dai and Audrey Dong of the asset management fund Dimensional Fund Advisors did the following research. They came up with 720 market-timing strategies, applied over different time periods and conducted on a variety of stock markets. Except in one anomalous instance, the “passive investing” strategy, meaning we buy-and-hold while minimizing costs to get as much market return as possible, is the best course to follow. We can do this through traditional mutual index funds or exchange-traded funds (ETFs that are like mutual funds but trade like stocks). Or we can make up our own mutual fund with a combination of diversified individual stocks. The idea is to just ride the ups and downs of the market. But in doing that, we have to accept losses some years for overall gains in the long run.

For example, in 1982, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which simply put is where the price of a select 30 U.S. stocks are added together, hovered around 1000. Today, that number is 35,475. Over a period of 40 years, the Dow snapshot of the market increased 35 times. But that also means there were years when the Dow declined. If we needed to sell then, at a low point, in order to secure some cash, we might have had to take a substantial loss depending on when we had bought into the market.

“People are always trying to figure out ways of beating the market,” said Ms Dai, meaning selling high, then buying low. “But moving in and out of stocks isn’t a good way to do it,” she added. While we may be able to see a low, it is very difficult to foresee when to get back in at the beginning of a rise. And most of the big money is made during the early stages of a rise, when the market takes off and we are left to run after it.

Can individual stock picking be a winning strategy?  That is, at best, extremely rare. Those who remember him highly regarded Peter Lynch, who managed the Magellan Fund for Fidelity (1977-1990) and who seemed to sense potential winners consistently over the years. His fund became so successful, it would alone move the markets. 

“Most active fund managers can’t beat the market year after year,” according to NYT columnist, Sommers. And so his advice, along with the research from Dimensional’s latest study, tells us to just be average and float on the overall market through index funds.

Of course, if you want to add a little spice to your life, as I sometimes get the urge to do, you can do the following. You can follow the advice offered above for the bulk of your equity investments but keep a small percentage, just five to ten percent for stock picking. That way, if you succeed on ferreting out winners, you can beat the market a bit. You can bask in the shadow of Peter Lynch. But if you lose, the result isn’t too bad.

Photo by Raymond Janis

Why cashless bail is right

The starting place for any discussion of bail reform is an understanding that jails are terrible places. This includes county jails, rural jails and frankly even the drunk tank where those arrested for DUI are properly held overnight.

Anyone accused of a misdemeanor or a nonviolent felony who spends a week or weeks in jail will be damaged forever. They will be terrorized, abused and intimidated by the other inmates. They may be raped and infected with AIDS.

If they have a job, they will have to call in, and more likely than not will lose that job. If they have a business, the business will likely fail. Single parents may lose custody of their children. All of which reinforces the cycle of poverty, which is at least contributory to what causes poor people (those who cannot make cash bail are by definition poor people) to commit misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies.

A priori, the impact of cash bail is visited on the poor — like if they had the $500 they would have paid it — and poverty is disproportionately inflicted on people of color. Oh, yeah, people of color get arrested a lot more than white people. Cash bail is inherently discriminatory.

Let’s dispose of the outcry that through cashless bail we are putting dangerous criminals out on the street. At worst, what we are doing is putting cashless suspects back on the street while continuing to let the ones with cash out on the street.

One of the fundamental principles of our society is that a person accused of a crime is innocent until proven guilty. Bail is justified by a weighted measure of factors on the likelihood that the defendant will show up in court. The courts are supposed to consider threats to the community — antagonistic to the presumption of innocence — only when the prosecution makes a strong showing in support of a charge involving violence or the threat of violence.

New York’s vision of bail reform was limited to misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies. So take the “dangerous criminal” argument off the table.

Timothy Glynn


A message from outgoing Leg. Esteban

As the results have come in and the voice of our community has been heard, I write this with a heart full of gratitude. Serving you has been one of the greatest honors of my life. Though the outcome was not what we hoped for, the journey has been immeasurably rewarding.

I express my deepest thanks to the Suffolk County GOP, my staff and campaign team. Your tireless dedication and belief in our vision have been the backbone of our efforts. I’ve seen your hard work and sacrifices firsthand, and it will not be forgotten.

To my supporters, your passion has been my inspiration. Every handshake, every story, every event, every moment spent with you has reinforced my commitment to public service.

This moment is not the end of our story; it’s merely the turn of a page, the beginning of a new chapter. Change is an essential thread in the fabric of our democracy, and I embrace it fully, eager to see where it leads us all.

To my family, my children and my wife, your support has been my sanctuary. Politics is a demanding path, and without your love and sacrifice, this journey would have been impossible. And to my dear mother, who is battling illness in the hospital, with incredible strength, my focus now turns to you, to return the loving support you have always given me.

I pledge to continue to be a voice for the voiceless, to advocate for those in need and to help forge a future that benefits all. Our work together is far from over, and I eagerly anticipate the next ways in which I can serve.

I extend my congratulations to Rebecca Sanin [D-Huntington Station]. Taking on the mantle of leadership is no small task, and I have great respect for anyone who steps forward to serve the public in this capacity. I trust that you will carry forward the wishes and needs of our community with integrity and dedication. May our transition be smooth and our shared objectives for the community’s welfare continue to be the guiding light of our efforts.

Thank you all, once again, for the privilege of being your public servant.

Manuel Esteban

Suffolk County Legislator

Legislative District 16

Support your community by shopping local this Saturday

You can support small retailers and restaurants by joining me and your neighbors on the 13th annual National Small Business Saturday, this coming Nov. 25.

Small Business Saturday began on Nov. 27, 2010. It was in response to both Black Friday (large stores) and Cyber Monday (e-commerce stores).

Small Business Saturday is designed for those starting holiday shopping to patronize small along with local community-based businesses.

Many small independent businesses are at the mercy of suppliers, who control the price they have to pay for merchandise. The small business employees go out of their way to help find what I need. Customer service is their motto.

An independent mom-and-pop store does not have the bulk buying purchasing power that Amazon or large national chain stores have. This is why they sometimes charge a little more.

It is worth the price to avoid the crowds and long lines at larger stores in exchange for the convenience and friendly service your neighborhood community store offers.

Our local entrepreneurs have continued the good fight to keep their existing staff and suppliers employed without layoffs and canceling supply orders. They work long hours, pay taxes, keep people employed and help fight crime by serving as the eyes and ears of neighborhoods. Foot traffic is essential for the survival of neighborhood commercial districts.

The owners of independent mom-and-pop stores are the backbone of our neighborhood commercial districts. Show your support by making a purchase.

Larry Penner

Great Neck

Torte Jeff Pie Co. Photo by Heidi Sutton

Thanksgiving is a time to connect with loved ones, enjoy a meal and express thanks for our many blessings. And for many, it marks the Last Supper before weeks of bustling traffic and relentless shopping.

We remind our readers, as they prepare their shopping lists, of the monumental importance of patronizing local businesses.

Mom-and-pop stores are the backbone of our local economy. Without them, our community would be diminished.

Vacant storefronts are all too familiar along the North Shore. These blights are not only eyesores but a reflection of recent disruption and struggle for our commercial sectors.

E-commerce continues to precipitously harm local downtowns, siphoning away customers and setting unsustainable market rates for smaller vendors who lack the bulk purchasing power to compete.

COVID-19 lockdowns further accelerated the decline of small businesses. In many cases, Amazon and a few other prominent web retailers were the only options available for consumers.

Local mom and pops are struggling to stay afloat today. But crucially, they depend upon our patronage. And we depend upon their survival.

Unlike the conglomerates, small business owners create jobs and pay taxes within our community. When we support them, the dollars we spend stay here, recirculating back into our local economy instead of shipping off to some distant corporate headquarters.

And aren’t we all tired of seeing these massive megastores and online retailers cornering the market, consolidating more power and desecrating our downtowns?

On Long Island and across America, the predatory and monopolistic practices of Big Business are forcing smaller retailers to shutter. And rather than resisting this stranglehold on our local markets, we willingly participate in the game, prostrating ourselves at the altar of sweet deals and unbeatable prices.

In the Faustian bargains of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we trade away the soul of our community for a 20% discount. In failing to patronize local businesses, we complicitly enable the decline of our commercial districts and are accountable for the potential loss of our community as we know it.

Through our dollars, we can speak truth to entrenched power and wealth. We can shop locally despite the hot deals elsewhere. We can choose to invigorate our small businesses, knowing that if we don’t, no one else will.

This Saturday, Nov. 25, marks the 13th annual National Small Business Saturday. We ask our readers to come out in force, prioritizing the local storefronts in our community. And then, we must continue supporting them for the remainder of the season and throughout the year.

Our actions will determine the face of our area, so let’s all do our part — because when we shop small, we are all enriched.

A Thanksgiving postcard. Photo courtesy Kenneth C. Brady Digital Archive

By Daniel Dunaief

Daniel Dunaief

Sending a text message to friends and family half way around the world and then getting an instant response is pretty incredible, shortening the distance between any two people.

And yet, as Thanksgiving approaches, I appreciate some of the earlier, albeit slower at times, elements of my younger years.

Take, for example, the postcard. Sure, people still send them, but postcards and letters are not as necessary or, in many cases, even considered. Even if people don’t send us texts, we can follow them on any of the social media sites where they’re showing us how they’re having the time of their lives and eating incredible food.

Over three decades ago, when my father died, I remember the exquisite and bittersweet pain from seeing the handwritten notes he’d left for himself. He didn’t have a smart phone where he could make electronic lists. Reading his pointed and slanted script was so deeply personal that I felt as if the letters and words connected us.

Once, years before he died, my father flew for a business trip. Eager to write to me and without any paper, he took out the barf bag from the seat in front of him, wrote about his travels and shared some dad humor, put it in an envelope and mailed it. I remember smiling broadly at the words he shared and the unconventional papyrus he’d chosen to carry those words.

The modern world of digital pictures and digital cameras gives me the opportunity to relive numerous experiences. I can easily sort those images by year and location, without needing to buy an album, find the right sequence of photos and slip them behind the translucent cover.

Still, remember when we used to bring rolls of film to the drug store for them to develop? We’d come back two or three days later, open up the often small green envelope and pour through the photos, wondering what we caught, what we missed and how the image compared with our memory.

The hit-or-miss nature of those photos made the imperfections somewhere between disappointing and perfect. They were real moments, when hair got in our eyes, when we shared our disappointment about a birthday present, or when we spilled a container of apple juice as we were blowing out candles.

What about all those photos from people in the early part of the 20th century? Didn’t they look utterly miserable? Was it the shorter life span, the challenging early days of the camera, bad dentistry and orthodonture or, perhaps, a culture that hadn’t yet suggested saying “cheese” or smiling for the camera?

My theory on those miserable faces, though, is that the pictures took so long to prepare amid challenging weather conditions — it was too hot to wear that overcoat — that people wanted the process to end so they could stop trying to hold a squirming child or ignore the need to scratch an itch.

Maybe I grew up in the sweet spot, where pictures weren’t instant but were easy enough to take that they didn’t require endless retakes. Yes, I have friends and relatives who insisted on taking 37 shots of the same moment, just in case someone was closing their eyes, which triggered the kind of fake smile in me that I recognize in my children when they’re eager to be somewhere else, doing something else, and, most likely, looking down at their phones to see pictures of other people.

This Thanksgiving, I appreciate not only the gifts of the present, with the endless storage space on my phone and the ability to capture life in real time, but also the perspective from a past, where the anticipation of seeing a snapped photograph or receiving a postcard turned the pictures into keepsakes and memory gifts.

METRO photo

By Leah S. Dunaief

Leah Dunaief

It’s Thanksgiving again, even though it seems it recently was. Yes, time flies, and soon it will be Christmas and then the end of 2023. When did that all happen? It seems we were worried about what would occur when we turned the corner into the next millennium. Now we are almost one quarter into the new century.

Some things don’t change, and that includes the core menu for Thanksgiving dinner. While I always try to add a new dish, just for the surprise value, still there are the turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce, the roasted veggies and mashed sweet potato, and the wonderful pies. I have to confess that my family prefers broccoli with garlic and oil to string beans, so we have put our own twist on the basic meal.

Every year, after dinner, we remain at the dining room table and share with each other what we are most grateful for particularly in this year. This way, I get to catch up on what’s been happening in my family’s lives that I might not know about, and they do as well. 

But while Thanksgiving is always celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November, no two Thanksgivings are exactly the same because no two years are the same. For one thing, we are one year older. That changes our lives in minor and major ways as we move on.

For example, my granddaughter moved on this year and graduated from college. She now has her first full time serious job, is living on her own and tasting adult life.  

My oldest grandson and his fiancee have been lovingly planning their wedding for next year. The bachelor party has already happened, the bridal shower, postponed once because the bride-to-be came down with COVID, will take place next month, and the couple have picked out their permanent home. They already have a BBQ for the backyard. Dresses have been selected, tuxes prepared, the event location secured and the menu chosen.

Speaking of COVID, its frightening grip on our lives has significantly loosened, but only after three years. We live with it, we have upgraded vaccines to protect us, and it’s not the scourge it used to be.

But other events threaten. There are two terrible wars raging in the world, and we are privy to them through news reports and social media daily. We hear less of Ukraine and Russia these days because the Middle East has taken center stage. And while Russian athletes and opera singers were shunned if they didn’t denounce Putin, still that conflict was at a distance. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has spilled over into our country and is closer to home. Antisemitism and anti-Muslim demonstrations have poisoned our airwaves and frightened our residents.

It is against this backdrop that we sit down to enjoy each other and the family meal. While we are grateful for all that we have and all that we are, we cannot entirely shut out the tragedies happening elsewhere in the world. If anything, current events cause us to pull our families closer for support and security.

As the calendar turns, we will be moving into another presidential-election year, and when we next sit down to Thanksgiving dinner, it will be on the eve of a new presidential term, whoever wins.

We are on the threshold of a decisive year ahead. Knowing that, and dealing with the divisiveness within our borders, lessens the usual frivolity of the holidays. Yes, we are certainly thankful for our turkey, for our lives and for each other. We should use that gratitude somehow to help make this a better world.

We can commit to pushing back against prejudice and hate wherever we find them. We can teach our children by our example, living what has ben described as American exceptionalism. We can abhor violence. And in the face of bigotry, we can care for each other and together pray for peace.