Shoreham

By Bill Landon

Shoreham-Wading River Wildcats made short work of Southampton to close out their regular season play on senior night. Both seniors Tiana Barone and Juliana Mahan were honored midcourt in a pregame ceremony and were joined by their parents Thursday afternoon Feb. 15. The Wildcats, No. 2 seed at 13-6, set the tone early, easily out pacing the Mariners in a game where everyone had playing time in the 59-16 League VI victory.

Mahan the team leader did what she’s done all season long, topping the scoring chart with 22 points this time. A pair of sophomores Kady Keegan netted 16 with Leslie Jablonski adding seven while Barone and junior Alyssa Bell banked four points apiece.

Clinching second place at 10-2 in their division behind league leader Mount Sinai, the Wildcats now participate in postseason play. As No. 4 seed, SWR hosts No. 5 seed Islip Friday, Feb. 23, at 5 p.m.

By Bill Landon

The Shoreham Wading River wrestling team continued their winning ways with a 47-24 win over visiting Mt. Sinai to clinch the league VII title going undefeated (5-0) Wednesday, Jan. 10 at home.

The Wildcats advantage comes at 124lbs and 131lbs with Chris Colon and Gavin Mangano where Colon pinned his opponent in 31 seconds. Mangano took a little longer to pin his challenger at 131lbs at the 2:40 mark of the second period. According to head coach Joe Condon the pair have only lost one match between them this season.

Mt. Sinai’s Brayden Fahrbach at 145lbs. had the shortest match of the night when he pinned his opponent in just 19 seconds.

The Wildcats will look to use their momentum when the Suffolk County Dual Championship competition begins Wednesday, Jan. 17. 

— Photos by Bill Landon

Just past the halfway point in the season Shoreham-Wading River, the 2023 Suffolk County class A champions, find themselves in the middle of the pack in their division. The Wildcats (5-5), having lost to Mount Sinai three days earlier, were hungry to get back to their winning ways when they hosted Center Moriches (1-8), making short work of the Red Devils winning 58-35 in the League VI matchup Jan 8.

Senior Juliana Mahan led the way for the Wildcats doing what she’s done all season battling in the paint netting eight layups/putbacks for 16 points. Grayce Kitchen, a junior, netted 11 points and Kady Keegan, the sophomore, banked eight. Kitchen had a 3-pointer as did freshman teammate Stamatia Almiroudis.

The Wildcats next two games will be their litmus test with a road game at Elwood-John Glenn on Tuesday, Jan 16, followed by a home game against Hampton Bays Jan. 20. Game times are 5:15 p.m. and noon respectively.

By Bill Landon

With eight consecutive nonleague games to open the Shoreham-Wading River girls basketball season, game five pitted the Wildcats against Greenport Tuesday night when the visiting Porters clung to a one-point lead to open the second half. The Wildcats came alive in the final 16 minutes of play, slamming the door shut to win the game 50-28 in the Dec. 19 contest.

Senior forward Juliana Mahan led her team in scoring with eight field goals and three from the line for 19 points, while juniors Alyssa Bell banked 17 and Grayce Kitchen netted 9.

The win lifts Shoreham-Wading River to 2-3 in the early season.

The Wildcats retake the court in another nonleague matchup Thursday, Dec. 21, with a road game against Rocky Point. Game time is slated for 4:30 p.m.

— Photos by Bill Landon 

Rocky Point forward Max Wignall shoots in a non-league matchup against Shoreham-Wading River. Photo by Bill Landon

With an injury-riddled starting lineup, the Shoreham-Wading River Wildcats had their hands full in a road game against Rocky Point where the Eagles defense was able to hold the Wildcats at bay. The Eagles offense pressed for all 32 minutes to win the nonleague matchup 55-40, Monday night Dec. 11.

Rocky Point guard Casmere Morrow topped the scoring chart for the Eagles with 17 points and forward Max Wignall added 13.

Shoreham-Wading River senior Gordon Votruba led the way for the Wildcats netting 11 points.

The win lifts the Eagles to 2-0.

The loss drops the Wildcats to 1-4. They will desperately need their bench to get healthy and will have to be at full song to make a postseason bid.

From sorrow to celebration, Tesla Science Center hosts an evening of festive cheer

The Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe hosts its annual Holiday Lighting event on Saturday, Dec. 2, less than two weeks after a devastating fire broke out on the property. Photo by Bill Landon

The resilience of the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe, an international treasure located in Shoreham, was on full display Saturday evening, Dec. 2, during its annual Holiday Lighting event.

The festivities occurred less than two weeks after a disastrous structure fire caused extensive damage to the historical building on-site. [See story, “Devastating fire engulfs Tesla Science Center in Shoreham,” Dec. 1, TBR News Media.]

There were arts and crafts activities, a snowmaking machine, a science exhibit and hot chocolate for all those attending. Marc Alessi, TSCW executive director, recognized the first responders who were just a minute away when the flames broke loose on Tuesday, Nov. 21. Local elected officials addressed the crowd, vowing to help in the historic site’s reconstruction efforts.

Alessi quipped that the fire engine sirens were no cause for alarm as the Shoreham Fire Department escorted Santa Claus, who was then swamped by the children in attendance.

Those looking to help in Wardenclyffe’s rise from the ashes can visit www.teslasciencecenter.org/give.

Shoreham-Wading River senior Alex Makarewicz battles his way to the rim in a road game against Centereach. Photo by Bill Landon

The Cougars of Centereach opened their season when they hosted the Shoreham-Wading River Wildcats (0-2) where both teams looked to put a “W” in the win column in a nonleague matchup Tuesday night Dec. 5.

Shoreham-Wading River had lost to Smithtown Christian and Hampton Bays to begin their season. Although the Wildcats had a 10-point advantage in the final minute of play, the Cougars closed the gap in the timeout-riddled final 20 seconds, where Shoreham escaped with a 42-38 victory.

Centereach retakes the court Dec. 9 when they host their crosstown rival Newfield before league play begins Dec. 12.

The win lifts the Wildcats to 1-2 with two more nonleague matchups before they hit the road to take on Port Jefferson to begin league play Dec. 21.

— Photos by Bill Landon

The historical structure at Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe underwent significant structural damage after a fire on Tuesday, Nov. 21. Photo courtesy Tesla Science Center

Just days before the fire erupted, the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe was marching along a path toward prosperity.

Center officials held a gala Nov. 16, announcing a $1.15 million installment of capital funding toward its anticipated $20 million restoration and redevelopment project.

Earlier, the center broke ground on the project, with demolition ongoing.

The center was ushering in a new era in its storied history.

“We were never in better shape,” said TSCW Executive Director Mark Alessi. “We were finally making the progress we had been working so hard for for many years.”

That’s when the flames broke loose.

Last Tuesday, Nov. 21, a conflagration — the cause of which is still unknown — enveloped the historic building on-site, designed by famed architect Stanford White.

In the aftermath, center officials are working to remediate the situation. During a press event on Tuesday, Nov. 28, Mark Thaler, partner at Thaler Reilly Wilson Architecture & Preservation of Albany, reported that the original building was “fireproof for the most part,” noting that the original brick walls remain standing after the fire.

“We have lost some of the roof structure, which will be able to be restored, and we’re poised and ready to do that,” he said, adding that the ensuing stages include cleaning out the building, securing the walls and drying out the interior.

Mission Rebuild

Given the extent of the damages, the center is now calling upon benefactors from both near and far to bolster the restoration work.

Coined Mission Rebuild, the nonprofit has launched a $3 million emergency fund drive on Indiegogo. Mission Rebuild represents a separate fundraising effort from the $20 million redevelopment campaign. 

Public officials from across levels of government attended Tuesday’s event, pledging their support.

“This is a really important historic site — not just for this county or this state or this country but worldwide,” said New York State Sen. Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk). “We will do everything we can without question on the state level to continue to get the funding you need to get this project to the end.”

Deputy Suffolk County Executive Jon Kaiman said, “Buildings can burn down and then be rebuilt. The ideas behind them — the person, the history, the narrative that was created over 100 years ago — still exist.”

The deputy county executive continued, “Because the story behind it is so strong, so important, so relevant, we know that we can all stand together and continue this journey that was started so long ago.”

Suffolk County Legislator-elect Chad Lennon (R-Rocky Point) thanked the local firefighters “for taking such care” in extinguishing the fire while preserving the structure. Despite the setback to the organization’s momentum, he pledged to help the center continue carrying out its mission. 

“It was one step back, and we’re going to take two steps forward,” Lennon maintained.

Also attending the press event, Town of Brookhaven Councilwoman Jane Bonner (R-Rocky Point) sang an optimistic tune: “Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, this Tesla Center will rise as well,” she forecasted. “We will help you raise your money. We will get you back to where you were,” adding, “At the end of the day, Tesla was successful — and so will the Tesla Science Museum and this organization.”

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

Shoreham-Wading River girls basketball head coach Adam Lievre’s strategy last season led the Wildcats to a county championship playing their toughest nonleague matchups early on. The Wildcats, a Division VI team, hosted William Floyd, a Division 1 team, to open their season and hit a brick wall. Having lost key players to graduation and with a returning starter sidelined with an injury, Shoreham-Wading River struggled with Floyd’s pressing defense and fast break ability, lost the battle 50-29.

A bright spot for the Wildcats was Alyssa Bell where the junior put together six field goals, a triple and four free throws for a team high of 19 points. When injured returning starter Juliana Mahan is able to rejoin the lineup, it’ll be a much-needed boost for the Wildcats 2023-24 campaign.

Shoreham-Wading River retakes the court with a road game against Cold Spring Harbor Saturday morning, Dec. 2, at 10 a.m. followed by another away game against Patchogue-Medford Dec. 6. Tipoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. 

— Photos by Bill Landon

Local firefighters extinguish the blaze at Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe on Tuesday, Nov. 21. Photo courtesy Tesla Science Center

By Samantha Rutt

A devastating fire broke out at the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe on Tuesday evening, Nov. 21, causing significant damage to the historic building. Firefighters from 11 departments responded shortly before 5 p.m. to find the laboratory engulfed in flames.

The fire, still under investigation, was reported to have ignited again early Wednesday morning, causing extensive damage to the main building’s roof and interior. While no injuries were reported, losing this important historical site devastated the scientific community.

The Tesla Science Center said in a statement released on Thanksgiving, “We are thankful to the deputy fire coordinators at the Suffolk County Department of Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services — and to the fearless teams from the Brookhaven National Laboratory Fire Department [and all other responding departments]. Their relentless efforts to protect our community are a beacon of hope and strength.”

“The cause of the fire is still unknown,” science center representative Mark Grossman said. “It’s still under investigation, though they’ve ruled out arson. There’s no concern about it being a criminal offense — it was likely accidental. But they’re still in the investigation stage.”

The Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe was the last remaining laboratory of famed inventor Nikola Tesla. One of the most influential figures in the history of electricity, he conducted groundbreaking experiments at the site in the early 1900s.

The bones of the building, constructed in 1901, have been reported to appear intact. However, the full extent of the damage is yet to be determined.

“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,” Marc Alessi, executive director of the nonprofit, said in a statement. “This resilience is a testament to its original robust construction and durability.”

The site will be evaluated and assessed by the 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, for damages in the coming days.

The center was undergoing renovation at the time of the fire. The renovations were intended to restore the building to its original condition and make it more accessible.

“There was a capital project that would be started shortly,” Grossman said. “We’re embarking on a $20 million renovation that would turn it into a true museum open to the public.”

In an interview, Grossman addressed fundraising efforts to raise money to repair what was damaged.

“There’s going to need to be an infusion of some donations to get things back to where they were,” he told TBR News Media. “It’s going to delay the capital project somewhat. I can’t tell you the exact amount of delay.”

The Tesla Science Center is a nonprofit organization that relies on donations from the public. In the wake of the fire, the organization has launched a fundraising campaign to help rebuild the laboratory.

The fire has sparked an outpouring of support from the community. Many people have expressed sadness at the science center’s loss and pledged their support for restoration efforts.

Amid the distressing news, Vladimir Božović, consul general for the Republic of Serbia and the consulate general team, pledged to provide “any necessary assistance” to the science center in the coming period.

The consulate’s statement further notes, “Our thoughts are with all those who hold deep respect and admiration for the invaluable work and dedication demonstrated by the Tesla Science Center in preserving the legacy of Nikola Tesla, a great Serbian-American inventor.”