METRO photo

Smithtown’s seniors in need of minor household repairs can contact the Town of Smithtown Senior Citizens Department to take advantage of the Residential Repair Program. In addition to a series of other household assistance services available to senior citizens, the repair program allows individuals over the age of 60 to save money while maintaining independence longer.

“This is an outstanding service for residents, especially for residents living on a retirement or pension. There is no cost for labor, as you only cover the cost of any parts or materials needed for the repair. Our team of trained professionals are thoroughly vetted, friendly and trusted employees who genuinely love helping our senior community. If you are looking to help out a parent, or you are over the age 60 and have a few minor repairs around the house that need to be taken care of, I would highly recommend calling the Senior Center to schedule a service call,” said Town of Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim.

The Residential Repair Program provides assistance for tasks that do not require the skills of a licensed craftsman. The Town of Smithtown employs a crew of experienced maintenance personnel who can provide a variety of minor home repair services to senior citizens.

Services can include repairs to leaky faucets, running toilets, replacing light fixtures or hard to reach light bulbs, security and home safety features such as lock replacement, replacing smoke/carbon monoxide detectors and installing bathroom grab bars or indoor railings.

Residential Repair Services: 

  1. Plumbing
  • Replacing washers or faucets for kitchen sinks, wash basins and tubs
  • Clearing clogged sinks
  • Repairing toilet tanks
  1. Electrical
  • Repairing or rewiring lamps and frayed cords
  • Replacing light switches, receptacles or fuses where accessible
  • No appliance repairs (with the exception of water hose connections)
  1. Carpentry
  • Installation of grab bars, safety rails, and handrails
  • Minor repairs to doors, floors, house trim, etc.
  • Installation of shelves and curtain rods
  1. Interior Painting – Primer only
  • No cosmetic work
  • Ceilings where water or structural damage has occurred
  • Patching walls and ceilings
  1. Weatherization
  • Caulking and weather stripping of windows and doors
  1. Exterior Services (WEATHER PERMITTING)
  • Minor patching of concrete, walkways and masonry foundations
  • Clean gutters and drains (Single Story Homes ONLY!)
  1. Crime Prevention & Safety
  • Installation of door and window locks
  • Installation of door viewers (peepholes)
  • Installation of smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors
  1. Miscellaneous Service
  • Installation or removal of storm windows and screens
  • Repairing of screens

Additional minor repairs must be assessed and receive prior approval from the Senior Center.

Town of Smithtown residents are eligible for the Residential Repair Program if they are homeowners or renters aged 60 and over. There are no labor fees for this program. Clients must either provide or pay for the materials required for each job. Repair requests will be serviced in the order they are received. Jobs requesting the installation of safety equipment will be given first priority. Funding for this program is provided by the New York State Office for the Aging, the Suffolk County Office for the Aging, and the Town of Smithtown.

Tipping is not permitted. Recipients will be given the opportunity to make a voluntary contribution to the program.


Contact the Smithtown Senior Center at 631-360-7616 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

An assessment of the job may be needed to estimate work and cost of materials. Eligible clients can choose to provide or pay for materials. Checks or credit cards not accepted.

For further information regarding this and other senior programs, contact the Smithtown Senior Citizens Department at (631)360-7616.

Josephine Eichner celebrates her 90th birthday at the Rose Caracappa Senior Center. Photo by Stephanie Giunta

By Stephanie Giunta

I was invited to join my grandmother,  Josephine Eichner, at her Seniors Club at Rose Caracappa Senior Center in Mount Sinai on February 7, her 90th birthday. I am 32 and got laid off a few months ago, and although I lacked the eligibility due to my age, I attended as an honorary guest. After hearing about the Tuesday club for 20+ years, I was grateful to have the free time to attend, albeit plagued with the nagging reason as to why I was available.

Josephine Eichner wearing her birthday tiara. Photo by Stephanie Giunta

I held her hand as we walked up the ramp into the building, kneeing the automatic handicap button to open the door.  I walked into a sea full of people, whose wrinkles told the stories of their lives. They scattered about prepping the coffee stations, collecting dollars for the 50/50 raffle, and decorating the tables. Our table, #2, was adorned with a vase of flowers and balloons in honor of Grandma’s big day. My first impression: feeling so touched that her friends had thought of her. 

Amused is putting it lightly. I was more so in awe. These men and women had made it. They had long marriages, bore children, and had grand and even great grandchildren.  They survived successes, failures, peaks, and valleys. They frequented doctor’s offices, and had battled health problems. They kissed their friends and spouses goodbye as they were given eternal life. They had survived all of their worst days to date, and yet here they were — still living.

When the meeting started and they sang “God Bless America,” I could have fallen off of my chair if I was sitting down. It brought tears to my eyes, and I was riddled with such pure joy and admiration. “Cute” isn’t the right word to describe it, since many refer to anything an older person does as “cute.” I think it was more of a genuine appreciation of these people, and knowing they knew what was important: camaraderie, love of self, and love of country. Appreciation for the small, yet impactful things in life. I can’t quite put the feeling into words, but it was something that struck me, and I’ll never forget it.

Josephine Eichner with her granddaughter and guest columnist Stephanie Giunta at the event. Photo by Stephanie Giunta

I got to meet Liz, the woman whose chain emails I have been receiving for decades.  I always opened them up because I didn’t want bad luck for 10 years. Sharon, who was lovingly referred to as “Grumpy” because she’s always so happy. She makes cookies for my daughter, although we had never met. Marie and Bob, who I’ve heard stories about for quite some time. They used to accompany my grandparents on double dates to The Heritage Diner. And Jutta. She doesn’t know it, but her name has been used quite a bit in some of our family’s games.

They walked a little slower, but laughed a little louder. Some were nervous that there weren’t enough slices of cake to go around.  Others complained that tea service wasn’t put out. Me — I just sat in silence at points and soaked it all in. I found it fascinating that they were worried about tea and cake, something so simplistic, whereas I was worried about the fate of my career. We were just in completely different phases of life and it was refreshing to gain a contrasting perspective.

The most rewarding part of the day was seeing my grandmother in action. It is truly beautiful to see someone you deeply admire in a social setting, when you’ve never really witnessed it outside of family functions. She was a shining light who worked the room. Conversations were filled with “Happy birthdays” and “You’re not 90!s” and just simply checking in on each other. Her snowy hair and pink lips bounced from table to table, bearing hugs and cashing in on inside jokes. The woman is 57 years my senior and I think she has a better social life than I do!

And as we capped out the day with BINGO, among covert mumblings about health insurance, next week’s entertainment, and the weather, I was so grateful to be where I was — spending the day with one of the people I love most in this world. Relishing on the roast beef sandwich on rye that she packed for me as if it were a NY strip steak; cutting into the Tiramisu that her friends presented her with; enjoying something so bubblegum, and feeling a bit sad when it had come to an end. I was also disappointed that Harriet won three games and I won zero.

I wish I could look at my life through a senior’s eyes and know that there are plenty of happy and sad times to come, but that they will make me who I am. That each laugh line and wrinkle I collect will signify a pit stop on my journey. That life is a gift and living is a privilege, and at the end of the day, being a good person is all that matters. Age is but a number and friendship has no timetable. 

And as I held Grandma’s hand on the way out, I whispered, “I can’t wait to come back.”

Residents at Gurwin Jewish ~ Fay J. Lindner Residences assisted living community in Commack remembered and commemorated the victims and survivors of the Holocaust with a candle lighting vigil and ceremony on Jan. 27.

“International Holocaust Remembrance Day is a time to honor the 6 million Jews who were killed during the Holocaust and those who survived of one of the darkest periods in history,” said Stuart B. Almer, President and CEO of Gurwin Healthcare System. “It is an especially important day of reflection for our Gurwin residents, many of whom experienced unspeakable atrocities firsthand and are compelled to share their stories.”

During the ceremony, 13 residents were called upon to each light a candle to honor the friends and family who died at the hands of the Nazis. Of the residents that were called up, two shared their personal stories of survival.

At 97 years old, Polish-born Cilia Borenstein vividly recalls the horrors the Nazis perpetrated against her at the notorious Auschwitz concentration camp.  She is the only member of her family to survive the Holocaust.  

Rose Ashkenazy was eleven years old out the outset of World War II.  She and her family fled Poland and lived in the woods near Ukraine to hide from the Nazis, surviving the outdoors on little food and with just the clothing on their backs. Neighboring houses provided small amounts of food for the refugees, helping to keep them alive until the war ended.

“We tell our stories of survival to keep the memories of our loved ones alive and to prevent this from happening again,” said Cilia Borenstein. “There are only a few of us left and it is important to remind others of our experiences during the Holocaust.”

 Photo courtesy of Gurwin Jewish ~ Fay J. Lindner Residences

Residents at Gurwin Jewish~Fay J. Lindner Residences assisted living community in Commack recently celebrated the cooking traditions of Hanukkah with an interactive latke cooking demonstration.

“Our Assisted Living residents always enjoy our live cooking demonstrations, especially during the holidays,” said Stuart B. Almer, President and CEO of Gurwin Healthcare System. “It is a wonderful time for residents to reminisce about their own holiday memories and traditions and share them with each other and our staff.”

Gurwin Chef Salvatore Zingalis conducted the demonstration live in a temporary teaching kitchen in the residence’s dining room. Residents shared stories of their own latke recipes as they watched the chef go through his recipe step-by-step and were able to enjoy a sampling of what was prepared.

Latkes are traditionally served with either applesauce or sour cream, depending on whether the meal is meat or dairy; both were available for residents to enjoy.

“As a Jewish family, we love getting together for the holidays, the bigger the crowd, the better,” said Carol Sussman, a resident at the assisted living community, thoroughly enjoyed the demonstration and complimented the chef on his technique. “I used to cook latkes for Hanukkah, but now my daughter has taken over that job. I taught her everything I know!”


St. Johnland recently held a celebration to commemorate the newly completed Assisted Living Facility on their Kings Park campus. The Assisted Living facility is the newest addition to St. Johnland which was founded in 1866 and since then has been providing care and support for the community.

Located in a serene woodland setting, the 100-bed facility will provide homes for individuals that are Medicaid eligible. They will also accept residents who are depleting their resources to become Medicaid eligible. The focus is to provide a residential and social setting where all residents can receive the care they need in order to maintain their optimal level of function and freedom while knowing they are supported by the residential services, medical supervision and personal care assistance they need.

The facility, which came about to meet the pressing need for expanded Medicaid Assisted Living Program capacity, will welcome residents who are ambulatory but may need assistance with daily care and medical services. The newly-formed St. Johnland Licensed Health Home Care Service agency will help secure treatment and services for residents. Residents who need more care as time passes will have the option of transferring to the Nursing Center, allowing the opportunity to age in place and have continuity of care.

For information about admission, please call 631-663-4444.

Photo from Fountaingate Gardens

Gurwin Healthcare System recently held a celebration to commemorate the newly completed  Fountaingate Gardens Independent Living complex, now fully open on their Commack campus.

Photo from Fountaingate Gardens

The $115 million. 129-luxury apartment Life Plan Community is a unique concept in senior living, the newest such community on Long Island, and the final piece in Gurwin’s full continuum of care for seniors. Fountaingate Gardens opened for limited occupancy in May with the completion of The Terraces residential building and the 20,000+ square-foot Clubhouse. The Parkview, the largest residential building on the complex, was the last to receive a certificate of occupancy, representing full completion of the project.

With more than 200 guests in attendance, Stuart B. Almer, President and CEO of Gurwin Healthcare System offered a champagne toast, celebrating the milestone for the organization.

“We are thrilled to celebrate with our community members, staff, board members and those who have worked tirelessly to bring Fountaingate Gardens to life,” said Almer. “We have worked so hard to complete this long-envisioned Life Plan Community for Gurwin and we are honored to be offering Long Islanders a way to truly age in place with peace of mind.”

Throughout the celebration, which took place within the state-of-the-art Clubhouse, guests toured the facility by following a “wellness path” through a variety of rooms demonstrating the community’s Blue Zone-inspired lifestyle. The Blue Zones — areas throughout the world where people live the longest — encourage a lifestyle aimed at improving health and longevity through specific habits. Each room also featured giveaways, various Blue Zone-inspired menu items prepared by the talented in-house culinary team, and activities including a performance by the Aqualillies, synchronized swimming entertainment, in the Clubhouse’s heated saltwater pool.

“It is amazing to celebrate this official opening,” said Ryan Grady, Executive Director of Fountaingate Gardens. “It’s wonderful to see members proud of and excited to show off their new home, thrilled to start this new and exciting chapter of their lives. We are pleased to be able to offer this unique retirement lifestyle to help Long Islanders live the best of their lives!” 

Pictured in photo in stofrom left, Ryan Grady, Executive Director of Fountaingate Gardens; Jennifer Kennedy, Vice President of System Integration at Gurwin Healthcare System; Stuart B. Almer, President and CEO of Gurwin Healthcare System; Bert Brodsky, Chairman of the Board of Directors at Gurwin Healthcare System; and Cary Wolf, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Fountaingate Gardens.  

Visit or call 631-715-2693 for more information.

This year's Wet Paint Festival will be held at the Sherwood-Jayne Farm in East Setauket. Photo courtesy of Preservation Long Island

By Melissa Arnold

Since 2004, Gallery North’s annual Wet Paint Festival has invited artists from far and wide to revel in nature’s beauty. For a week or a weekend, artists enjoy each other’s company and a healthy dose of plein air painting — the tricky, constantly changing art of working outdoors.

This year’s festival, scheduled for June 4 and 5, will be held at the historic and picturesque Sherwood-Jayne Farm on Old Post Road in East Setauket and seeks to build upon past events where visitors can watch the artists work and ask questions about their creative process. There will also be the opportunity to tour the Sherwood-Jayne House, go bird watching, enjoy live music and more.

An artist paints plein air at the Sherwood-Jayne Farm. Photo from Preservation Long Island

“The landscape of the show has changed in a variety of ways over the years, not just in location but in the way it’s structured,” said Ned Puchner, executive director of Gallery North. “During the pandemic, people could paint remotely for a two-week period. Last year, we had a few different locations to choose from. This year, we’re returning to the traditional style of having a specific site where everyone will come together and paint for a weekend, with some additional activities for the public to enjoy.”

The Sherwood-Jayne Farm was originally slated to host the Wet Paint Festival in 2020, and planning for the event was nearly complete when the pandemic shut things down.  

“Gallery North reached out to us a few years ago looking to change up the festival from the way it was done in the past,” said Elizabeth Abrams, Assistant Director of Operations and Programs for Preservation Long Island, which cares for the property. “We used to team up with the gallery for an apple festival, and considering we are just down the street from each other, it was natural for us to work together again.”

Preservation Long Island is a multifaceted not-for-profit organization dedicated to protecting Long Island’s history and culture. Founded in 1948, their focus is on education, advocacy, and the stewardship of historic buildings and artifacts.

Abrams explained that the Sherwood-Jayne House was built in 1730 as an early colonial, lean-to salt box dwelling. The house and surrounding farmland were cared for by the Jayne family for more than 150 years. In 1908, it was acquired by the founder of Preservation Long Island, Howard Sherwood, who lived in the home and displayed a variety of antiques there.

Throughout the weekend, the Sherwood-Jayne House will be open for tours with Preservation Long Island curator Lauren Brincat. Keep an eye out for the Tallmadge wall panels, and the incredibly beautiful wall mural in the parlor that’s meant to look like wallpaper — they are very rare to see, especially on Long Island, Abrams added.

“The house contains a large portion of Howard Sherwood’s personal antique collection and other bits of history from colonial Long Island. This area had a foundational role in American history — exploring the house and its collections are a unique way to learn more about that important time period,” she said.

There will be plenty of outdoor inspiration for the artists at the festival as well. The property is also home to a variety of outbuildings and trails, gorgeous old-growth walnut trees, an apple orchard, and all kinds of wildlife. 

The Four Harbors Audubon Society will lead tours exploring the wildlife and ecology of the area, with a particular focus on local birds. If the barn is open, you might be lucky enough to meet some goats, a few sheep, or an old, sweet white horse named Snowball.

Visitors are free to wander the grounds at their leisure, watch the artists work or ask questions, Puchner said. For those who are feeling shy or not sure what to ask, an artist will offer a guided tour and lead discussions once each day.

“The whole objective of the Wet Paint Festival is to help people understand what goes into the process of creating a painting, and to meet local artists. It’s a great way for someone who has no artistic experience to learn how it all works,” Puchner said.

Nancy Bueti-Randall, pictured in her studio, will join over 40 other artists at this year’s Gallery North Wet Paint Festival.
Photo by Heidi Sutton/TBR News Media

Over 40 artists will be participating this weekend including Nancy Bueti-Randall of Stony Brook who began to paint outdoors as a way to recharge while raising her three children. She’s spent more than 20 years creating and showing her work, which runs the gamut from pictorial to abstract, figures and landscapes. Most of the time, though, she’s painting in her garden or other familiar surroundings.

Sometimes, she’ll start a painting with the idea to focus on one thing, but something else in a landscape will catch her eye instead.

“There are a lot of challenges with plein air painting. It’s very fleeting — a landscape is always changing, even from day to day,” Bueti-Randall explained. “You have to be fast and responsive to what’s going on around you. It’s about becoming engaged with the thing you’re painting. I can get overwhelmed by beauty, and I try to capture the essence of what I’m seeing in a process of give and take.”

Marceil Kazickas of Sands Point considers herself an artistic late bloomer. She started drawing and painting to cope with a health crisis, and found that when she was being creative, she wasn’t in pain. Kazickas prefers to work in oil, which she loves for its luscious, sensual properties.

“When you go outside, there’s an overwhelming amount of information to take in — the views are always changing, the clock is running, and you want to get your design done quickly because the light and shadows are constantly evolving,” she explained. 

“I’m not as focused on painting exactly what I see … People can get caught up in producing a finished, frameable piece of art, but for me it’s exciting to be outside and come up with whatever I can in the short time I’m out there, even if it’s nothing. It’s about the painting process.”

Puchner hopes that the variety of activities, including a scavenger hunt for kids and live music from the Keenan Paul Zach Trio and Tom Killourhy, will appeal to all kinds of people.

“These new additions will give the public the opportunity to enjoy nature, the arts and history all in one place, and our artists will have a fun new location to experiment and be creative in,” he said.

The 18th Annual Wet Paint Festival will be held June 4 and 5 at the Sherwood-Jayne Farm, 55 Old Post Road, East Setauket from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Rain date is June 18 and 19. The event is free and open to the public. 

All participating artists will have their festival work on display in an exhibit at Gallery North, 90 North Country Road, Setauket, from July 7 through Aug 7. A free opening reception will be held at the gallery from on July 7 from 6 to 8 p.m. 

For more information about the festival or to register to paint, visit or call 631-751-2676. Learn more about Sherwood-Jayne Farm at

Photo from Smithtown Senior Center

The Smithtown Senior Center is now featuring an interactive BINGO experience for members. The recent addition of the jumbo electronic BINGO flash board is a result of a purchase from Siena Village Senior Living community. Senior Center members can enjoy in the BINGO fun every Friday starting at 12:15 p.m.

“We were looking for ways to improve the services and activities for our membership in addition to a selling point, to encourage new enrollment. BINGO is a much-loved form of entertainment… It has been a popular pastime for generations. My hope is that this new addition, and the lineup of fun activities, crafts and clubs will entice new membership and improve the experience for the community members who we see daily,” said Doreen Perrino, Smithtown Senior Citizens Department Program Director.

In addition to the new BINGO Fridays program, the senior center has expanded clubs such as the Knitting & Crochet group, (every Monday from 10 a.m. to noon.) The Knitting & Crochet group makes hats, scarves and mittens for local shelters, baby hats for hospitals, lap blankets and shawls for senior residency homes and much more. Members can use supplies, yarn and tools provided by the Senior Center or bring their own from home.

The Senior Citizens Center offers a wide array of activities, clubs and programming geared towards improving quality of life for our wiser, elder residents. Every day, the center offers a full schedule of arts, fitness, and wellness programming. Members can choose to join a variety of clubs, from gardening, quilting and book clubs to one of seven social clubs, featuring Casino & Theater outings, luncheons, parties, community advocacy and volunteer opportunities. In addition to a wealth of entertaining programming, the Smithtown Senior Citizens Department offers a variety of at home maintenance and repairs services.

The Eugene Cannataro Senior Citizens Center, 420 Middle Country Road, Smithtown,  is open Monday – Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (July & August Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.) Lunch is served daily. Transportation is also available for membership. For questions or additional information, please call  (631) 360-7616 or for Transportation: (631) 265-8811.

Photo from Councilmember Kornreich's office

On January 14, Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich and Councilwoman Jane Bonner were honored to officiate at the swearing in ceremony of the incoming officers of the Port Jefferson Senior Citizen Club. The installation ceremony was held at the Rose Caracappa Senior Center in Mount Sinai.

The incoming officers of the club were presented with a Certificates of Congratulations from the Town acknowledging their selection as officers and the outgoing officers received Certificates of Appreciation for their service to the club.  Pictured left to right are Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich; Club Secretary Annette Okula; Treasurer, Joanne Daube; President, Edythe Budke; First Vice President Phyllis Rosen; Second Vice President, Sharon Goodman; Club Leader, Shirley Hudson and Councilwoman Jane Bonner (right).

“Thank you to current and past officers of the Port Jefferson Senior Citizen Club for their service. It’s important that we continue to support our Senior Clubs and I look forward to working with them to improve our community and meet their needs,” said Councilmember Kornreich.

“It’s always a pleasure to meet with the Port Jefferson Senior Citizen Club members and I am happy to see them enjoying our senior center again. Congratulations to the newly installed officers and a thank you to the outgoing officers for their service to the club,” added Councilwoman Bonner.