Times of Huntington-Northport

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.

METRO photo

Cellular service with all Suffolk County 9-1-1 receiving call centers has been restored at this
time. Anyone with an emergency can call 9-1-1. There were no reported disruptions to emergency
services being dispatched. The problem with 9-1-1 cellular service throughout Suffolk County was
attributed by Verizon as an equipment failure that impacted the cellular network.

Below is the original press release:

The Suffolk County Police Department has been made aware of an intermittent issue with at least one known cell phone carrier that is causing disruptions to 911 call service within 911 call centers in Suffolk County as of Nov. 27 at 6 p.m.

Residents are urged if they call 911 and receive a fast busy signal to hang up and immediately call 631-852-COPS and follow the prompts to be directed to your police jurisdiction. The department is working to identify and rectify the issue as quickly as possible and there has been no disruption to emergency services being
dispatched as a result of the issue.

The Northport/East Northport Community Drug & Alcohol Task Force hosts its 6th annual Color Run on Saturday, Nov. 4. Photo courtesy NENDATF

Hundreds gathered at Northport Middle School on Saturday, Nov. 4, in support of the 6th annual Color Run hosted by the Northport/East Northport Community Drug & Alcohol Task Force.

The Color Run is a unique and vibrant event that combines the elements of a fun run with an explosion of color, fun and community spirit. Participants donned white t-shirts, symbolic of a blank canvas, and raced through the course, where they were showered by volunteers with nontoxic, biodegradable colored powder at various “color stations” along the route.

The run culminates in a “finish festival” featuring music, dancing, games and a photo booth. Several organizations operated information booths as well, including the Family & Children’s Association, Hands Across Long Island, Gabriel’s Giving Tree, Families in Support of Treatment, CN Guidance Counseling Services, Seafield, and more.

The event was made possible due to generous sponsorships by Geico and National Event Connection, as well as hard work by community volunteers and students from 1Life Youth Coalition and the Northport High School Wilderness Club.

The annual Color Run coincides with R.A.P. — Recovery, Awareness, Prevention — Week in the Northport-East Northport Union Free School District, during which students participate in age-appropriate group programming and activities that provide valuable education on the dangers of substance use.

“R.A.P. Week is a great way to impart valuable lessons about making smart choices when it comes to drugs, but we also have to show people how much joy and color can be found in everyday life,” said Linda Oristano, project coordinator for the NENDATF. “I’m incredibly grateful to our volunteers for their hard work and generosity, and to everyone in the community who showed up to support this beautiful cause.”

The NENDATF is a community organization founded in 2006 to address the devastation and loss of life caused by the drug epidemic and highlight support structures for those in recovery.

For more information about how to get involved, visit www.ndatf.org.

By Michael Scro

Centerport United Methodist Church held its annual Santaport Christmas Fair on Saturday, Nov. 18.

The event featured rooms filled with gifts, crafts and items for sale, a café with homemade food prepared by church members and a meet-and-greet with Santa Claus.

Held in the upstairs portion of the church, attendees freely wandered the rooms such as white elephant treasures with houseware and glassware, new and vintage jewelry, children’s crafts and toys, men’s world, which had tools, sporting goods, electronics, and a playroom for kids. There was also a gift basket silent auction.

Santa Claus set up in the main church area with Fenway, a therapy dog who quickly became a favorite among the families and children. The day also featured a book signing of “Raising Betty” by local author Sarah Zagaja.

David Clemens, a church member and organizer of Santaport, and his wife Joan, the church historian, said the church predates the American Revolution. The fair can be traced back to 1959 under its original name, Centerport Sea Fair.

“It’s a wonderful event for the church and our local community,” Clemens said. “All of our food is provided by church members, and all the items are donated.”

Clemens estimated that 60 volunteers were on-site throughout the day and mentioned that the church was a school when it was first built so that they could fill multiple rooms with items and purposes. Centuries later, that design aspiration is still achieved today.

Melville-based H2M architects + engineers collects over 750 turkeys during its 6th annual Turkey Drive. Photos courtesy H2M architects + engineers

Melville-based H2M architects + engineers collected over 750 turkeys for its 6th annual Turkey Drive on Thursday, Nov. 16, and Friday, Nov. 17.

The drive was hosted in partnership with Island Harvest, Long Island’s leading hunger relief organization, in support of its 2023 Turkeys & Trimmings Collection Campaign.

Melville-based H2M architects + engineers collects over 750 turkeys during its 6th annual Turkey Drive. Photos courtesy H2M architects + engineers

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, approximately 38 million Americans, including 12 million children, qualify as “food insecure,” defined as a lack of consistent, dependable access to healthy food.

Since its founding in 1992, Island Harvest has helped feed millions of Long Islanders through comprehensive nutrition programs, including programs geared toward children, families, seniors and veterans.

H2M staff collected the frozen turkeys in the east parking lot of H2M’s headquarters. As the drive concluded, H2M had surpassed its collection goal of 600 turkeys and over 300 meals, each of which was donated to Island Harvest to support a family in need. H2M also raised over $6,000 in monetary donations from a combination of individual and corporate donors as of Nov. 20.

“It’s truly an honor to partner with Island Harvest every year and play a part in their mission to end hunger on Long Island,” said H2M president and CEO Rich Humann. “I’m grateful to lead a company that places so much value on giving back to the community,” adding, “My thanks go out to the entire H2M team for their hard work and all of our donors for their generosity and good will.”

H2M is collecting monetary donations via DonorPerfect through Nov. 30. Additionally, Island Harvest will continue collecting turkeys and other Thanksgiving food items through Dec. 30.

For more information on how to support Island Harvest’s Turkey & Trimmings Collection Campaign, visit www.islandharvest.org/2023-turkey-trimmings-collection-campaign.

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.

Town Supervisor-elect Dan Panico expresses concern about the profit motives of the town’s cable service provider. Snapshot from the town website

By Nasrin Zahed

The Town of Brookhaven is currently at a crossroads in its relationship with the cable and internet conglomerate Cablevision/Optimum/Altice, as officials considered the franchise agreement renewal, in the name of Suffolk Cable Corporation, during a Town Board meeting held Thursday, Nov. 16.

The agreement, granting the company sole authority to provide cable services within the town, is a multifaceted document that delineates Optimum’s rights and establishes the framework for the town’s regulatory role.

Understanding the context of the franchise agreement requires a closer look at the regulatory landscape governing cable services in the town. As revealed in recent information, a cable operator must apply for a franchise to provide cable services. Notably, it may operate outside the agreement, which is expressly limited to cable television services. The town lacks authority over internet and telephone services, even if the same cables and equipment used are shared for cable television delivery.

State and federal regulations further shape the town’s authority over cable television franchises. The town also cannot regulate programming on a cable television system and is constrained in its ability to control rates, except for the most basic level of service. Federal limitations also extend to franchise fees, capping the town’s ability to require payments from the cable operator.

During the meeting, town Supervisor-elect Dan Panico (R) expressed concerns about the internet and cable providers’ profit motives. “There’s nothing that can be said here today to lead me to believe that they are not jacking up prices and having meetings to see where the threshold pain point is to extract as much money from residents as possible,” he said.

In response to these regulatory constraints, the town has engaged the services of a special counsel, Thomas Levin, to negotiate an agreement that maximizes the town’s authority within legal bounds while ensuring the delivery of quality cable television services to the Brookhaven community. The proposed agreement spans a decade, during which the cable operator commits to providing cable television in the unincorporated areas of the town.

One essential aspect of the proposed agreement is regulating the cable system’s operation under federal and state law. The agreement allows the town to impose a franchise fee, capped at 5% of the cable system revenues, ensuring a balanced approach to funding the regulatory framework.

The proposed agreement outlines procedures for the town to verify credit payments and secure $222,100 in grants from the cable television operator. These funds are earmarked for supporting public, educational and government cable programming — a crucial step in enhancing community engagement and access to information.

As the town navigates the landscape of cable service regulation, community participation becomes integral in shaping the future of cable services within its borders. A recent public statement from town officials invites community members to share their experiences with their cable and internet providers and contribute to the decision-making process.

This call to action is noteworthy given the proposed changes to the agreement, including a senior citizen discount and the introduction of a cable subscriber bill of rights.

The Town Board will reconvene on Thursday, Nov. 30, at 5 p.m., with a highly anticipated public hearing to consider a change of zone for the Jefferson Plaza property in Port Jefferson Station. To view the full hearing, please visit brookhavenny.gov/meetings.

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.