Town of Brookhaven

Brookhaven Town Clerk Donna Lent. Photo from TOB

Brookhaven Town residents whose homes were damaged by the unprecedented rains caused by the remnants of Hurricane Ida can apply for federal FEMA grants and receive state and local assistance at a Storm Recovery Center set up in the Rose Caracappa Senior Citizen Center. The center is located at 739 Route 25A in Mount Sinai. The center will be open starting on Thursday, September 16 at 8:00am and will operate 7 days a week from 8:00am to 7:00pm until further notice. Pictured above is Town Clerk Donna Lent at the Rose Caracappa Center preparing to assist residents requiring vital records at the Storm Recovery Center.

Suffolk County received a Major Disaster Declaration this weekend as a result of the devastating floods caused by the remnants of Hurricane Ida earlier this month. Approval is based on joint damage assessments by New York State and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Suffolk County also qualifies for the Individual Assistance Program.

A Major Disaster Declaration allows for financial assistance from the federal government to provide disaster relief and allow communities to recover through either Public Assistance or a combination of Public and Individual Assistance. Public Assistance provides emergency assistance to save lives and protect property as well as funding debris removal and repairs to public buildings and infrastructure, including roads, bridges, schools, parks, hospitals, police stations, fire houses, water and wastewater treatment facilities and other publicly owned facilities. Individual Assistance provides direct support for individuals and homeowners. Residents may also be able to receive funds for other uninsured or under-insured disaster-caused expenses and serious needs, such as repair or replacement of personal property or funds for moving and storage, or medical, dental, and childcare.

Homeowners and renters should make every effort to document their losses. Homeowners will work directly with FEMA to obtain funding for Individual assistance, which can include funds for temporary housing units, housing and driveway repairs, crisis counseling, unemployment assistance and legal services.

Residents seeking Individual Assistance should complete a damage assessment form as well as FEMA Individual Assistance application form.

Photo from Long Island Photography Studio

Saturday night, both the Selden Fire Department and the Centereach Fire Department hosted two separate September 11, 2001 memorials at their fire houses. 

Dozens of people came together to remember the victims, who left behind their lives and legacy 20 years ago to the day of the attacks.

During their event, the Selden Fire Department honored Captain Nicholas Chiofalo and other Selden Community members who lost their lives on 9/11.

Ex-Chief Michael Matteo led the members of the Selden community through a ceremony that would memorialize the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. 

Wreaths were placed at the both departments 9/11 monuments.

From left to right: Middle Island Fire Chief Bill Nevin, Chuck Prentis, Dr. Jeffrey Wheeler, Nursing Assistant Drew Saidler. Photo from Catholic Health

Chuck Prentis, 59 of Centerport, was at the right place at the right time this past May, when he was bicycle riding up a very steep hill in Port Jefferson and suddenly went into cardiac arrest in front of St. Charles Hospital on Belle Terre Road.

All of the stars aligned that day for Prentis. St. Charles nursing assistant Drew Saidler was in the emergency room and heard the outside cries for help. He immediately sprang into action and performed life-saving CPR on the lawn where the rider had fallen from his bicycle. 

A St. Charles security officer alerted the emergency room staff of the incident and the medical team immediately ran out to assist Saidler. At the same time, Middle Island Fire Chief Bill Nevin happened to be driving by the scene at that very moment, jumped out of his car with an automated external defibrillator. 

Prentis was placed on a stretcher, with nurse Kirsten Connolly on top, performing life-saving compressions as Chuck was being rushed into the emergency room.

As it turns out, Chuck suffered from a widow maker which is the most severe kind of heart attack, where there is almost 100% total blockage in a critical blood vessel called the left anterior descending artery. 

Prentis has a family history of heart disease. His father passed away at a young age of a heart attack, his older brother had open heart surgery and also survived a widow maker and his older sister required a stenting procedure due to blockages. 

Knowing that he had a family history, he lived a healthy lifestyle and exercised frequently on the Peloton bike – about 130 miles a week. He never had any symptoms prior to that day in May when he went into sudden cardiac arrest. 

Once stabilized at St. Charles, Chuck also required another procedure to implant an Impella device typically used in patients with severe heart failure, to help flow of blood to the heart.

Prentis is not quite back on the Peloton, but for now enjoys playing golf and spending quality time with his wife and three sons. He and his family are extremely appreciative of the emergency room staff who sprang into action that day. Each one was instrumental in saving his life. One might say, it is a miracle that Prentis was at the right place at the right time and received the lifesaving care he desperately needed.

The 9/11 memorial in Hauppauge. File photo by Rita J. Egan

“One of the worst days in American history saw some of the bravest acts in Americans’ history. We’ll always honor the heroes of 9/11. And here at this hallowed place, we pledge that we will never forget their sacrifice.” — Former President George W. Bush

These were the patriotic thoughts of this president who reflected on the heroic services that were demonstrated by Americans during and after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. 

While it has been 20 years since our nation was attacked by the sting of terrorism, Americans have not forgotten this tragic moment. On the North Shore — about 80 miles from Manhattan at its easterly point — there are many memorials that honor the local residents who were killed, the dedication of the rescue workers and the War on Terror veterans who defended this nation at home and abroad for the last two decades.

There has been a tremendous amount of support from the local municipalities, state and local governments, along with school districts to never forget 9/11. People do not have to look far to notice the different types of memorials, landmarks and resting places that represent those harrowing moments and the sacrifices that were made to help others and defend this country. 

Calverton National Cemetery

Driving northwest on Route 25A, it is possible to quickly see the reminders of sacrifice within the Calverton National Cemetery. This sacred ground is one of the largest military burial grounds in America and driving through its roads, there are flags that have been placed for veterans of all conflicts — especially the most recent during the War on Terror. 

One of the most visited sites there is that of Patchogue resident Lt. Michael P. Murphy who was killed in 2005 in Afghanistan, where under intense enemy fire he tried to call in support to rescue his outnumbered four-man SEAL team. 

As the 20th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, local residents can also see his name gracing the front of Patchogue-Medford High School, the post office in Patchogue, the Navy SEAL Museum that is near completion in West Sayville, and a memorial created for him on the east side of Lake Ronkonkoma, where he was a lifeguard.

Shoreham-Wading River—Rocky Point—Sound Beach—Mount Sinai

West of Calverton, at the main entrance of Shoreham-Wading River High School, you will notice a baseball field located between the road and the Kerry P. Hein Army Reserve Center. 

One of this field’s former players, Kevin Williams, was killed on 9/11, where he was a bond salesman for Sandler O’Neill, in the South Tower of the World Trade Center. This 24-year-old young man was a talented athlete who was recognized with MVP honors on the baseball, golf and basketball teams for the high school. 

A foundation has been created in the name of Williams, an avid New York Yankees fan, that has helped provide financial support to baseball and softball players unable to afford attending sports camps. 

Not far from Shoreham, driving westward, motorists will notice the strength, size and beauty of the Rocky Point Fire Department 9/11 memorial. This structure is located on Route 25A, on the west side of the firehouse.

Immediately, people will notice the impressive steel piece that is standing tall in the middle of a fountain, surrounded by a walkway with bricks that have special written messages. In the background, there are names of the people killed during these attacks and plaques that have been created to recognize the services of the rescue workers and all of those people lost.  

Heading west into Rocky Point’s downtown business district, VFW Post 6249 has a 9/11 tribute with steel from lower Manhattan. Less than a half mile away, on Broadway and Route 25A, the Joseph P. Dwyer statue proudly stands high overlooking the activity of the busy corner.  

This veteran’s square remembers the service of PFC Dwyer, who enlisted into the Army directly after this nation was attacked and fought in Iraq. He struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder and this statue supports all veterans who have dealt with these hard psychological and physical conditions. 

A short distance away, the Sound Beach Fire Department also created a special structure on its grounds through a neighborhood feeling of remembrance toward all of those people lost.

Heading west toward Mount Sinai, it is easy to observe a wonderful sense of pride through the Heritage Park by its display of American flags. On the Fourth of July, Veterans Day and Memorial Day, residents see these national and state colors, and this always presents a great deal of patriotism for the people utilizing this park.

Coram—Port Jefferson—St. James 

More south on County Road 83 and North Ocean Avenue, visitors of all ages enjoy the Diamond in the Pines Park in Coram. There, people have the opportunity to visit the 9/11 Memorial Learning Site. This site honors all of the citizens lost from the townships of Brookhaven and Riverhead, the rescue workers and War on Terror veterans.  

For 10 years, the site has helped reflect on this assault on America through the major bronze plaques with historical information, black granite pictures, benches, and statues of a bronze eagle and a rescue dog that helped search for survivors of the attack at the World Trade Center.

Leaving this park and going north into the village of Port Jefferson, people enjoy the beauty of its harbor, its stores, and they see traffic enter via ferry from Connecticut. Through the activity of this bustling area, there is a large bronze eagle that is placed on a high granite platform.  

Perched high, citizens from two different states brought together by the ferry are able to walk by this memorial that helps recognize the lost people of Long Island and the New England state. Driving near the water through Setauket, Stony Brook and into St. James, there is a major 7-ton memorial that highlights a “bowtie section” of steel from the World Trade Center.  

Due to the type of steel on display, there are few memorials that capture the spirit of the St. James Fire Department 9/11 site.

Nesconset—Hauppauge—Smithtown

Traveling south down Lake Avenue toward Gibbs Pond Road and Lake Ronkonkoma, the 9/11 Responders Remembered Memorial Park in Nesconset is located at 316 Smithtown Blvd. This is a vastly different place of remembrance, as it is continually updated with the names of fallen rescue workers who have died since the attacks 20 years ago. 

Taking Townline Road west into Hauppauge toward Veterans Highway and Route 347, you will end up at the Suffolk County government buildings. 

Directly across from Blydenburgh Park in Smithtown, is a major 9/11 memorial created by the county. This memorial has 179 pieces of glass etched with the 178 names of the Suffolk County residents killed on September 11, with one extra panel to honor the volunteers who built the memorial.

As commuters head west to reach the Northern State Parkway, they drive by a major structure that was created to recognize all of those citizens from Huntington to Montauk killed on 9/11 by terrorism. It is just one of many such monuments created by our local townships, fire departments, parks and schools.  

Even after 20 years, our society has not forgotten about the beautiful day that turned out to be one of the most tragic moments in our history.  

Rich Acritelli is a social studies teacher at Rocky Point High School and an adjunct professor of American history at Suffolk County Community College.

Photo from Alice Martin

Alice Martin remembers it like it was yesterday. 

Her husband, a lieutenant in the FDNY’s Rescue 2, left his Miller Place home on Monday afternoon, Sept. 10, for his 24-hour shift in Brooklyn. He was supposed to come home Tuesday night, but he unfortunately never walked back through the door. 

“I left all the lights on in the house,” she said. “I left the front door unlocked because I figured maybe if he gets his way home somehow, he would just come in.” 

The mom of three boys, ages 13, 8 and 6, had just finished dropping them off at the bus stop when the first plane hit the tower on Sept. 11.

“As the day unfolded, and I was watching the news, I realized he could be there because even though he didn’t work in Manhattan, he was in a rescue company,” she said.

But Peter was always fine, Alice thought. “Then by six o’clock, when obviously he never called and then he didn’t come home, it became very real.”

Looking back two decades later, she doesn’t know how she did it. 

“It was beyond horrible,” she said. “But especially as a mom, that’s really the key. I went into mommy gear right away. My kids needed me more than they’ve ever needed me, and I really  needed to keep my head screwed on straight.”

Photo from Alice Martin

Peter C. Martin began his career as an FDNY firefighter in 1979. A native of Valley Stream, he graduated from St. John’s University where he met his future wife. 

“He was good at it and he loved it,” she said. “I think most of them do … It really is a calling.”

A full-time dad, who also worked at the Suffolk County Fire Academy as a teacher, she said her husband was just “a really good guy. A wonderful dad, and a wonderful husband.”

The two were married for 17 years when he passed away.

“It’s strange … I’ve been without him longer than I’ve been with him,” she said. “I never remarried, and my heart still belongs to him.”

According to Alice, Peter was just 43 years old on 9/11 and was among seven that were killed that day in his firehouse.

“I started calling the firehouse in Brooklyn and nobody was answering. My kids started asking questions,” she recalled. “And as the hours were going on, I felt useless because I wanted to do something. So, I actually started calling hospitals that I knew they were taking the wounded to.”

She eventually got a call that her husband was missing and unaccounted for. 

“That’s when neighbors started coming over, people started reaching out to me, which was comforting in some ways and frightening at the same time,” she said. 

Alice said the outpouring amount of love and support she and her boys got from the local community during that time was “wonderful.”

“I can say nothing bad,” she said. “There was just such a generous spirit from the people of Sound Beach, Miller Place and Rocky Point … That whole area, the letters I got from strangers.”

Peter was the only 9/11 victim from Miller Place. 

“I have to say it was a horrible, horrible situation, but it was also — now looking back — just unbelievable, the goodness of people to strangers they never met,” she said.

Along with learning that a community can come together, Alice said she’s learned two other things after that day’s events.

“I believe in the gift of time with finding a new normal and learning how to live,” she said. “I started taking one thing at a time, whether big or small, I just took everything one thing at a time.”

Twenty years later, with her now-grown sons and a grandson who bears Peter’s name, they still talk about him every single day. 

“Now the good thing is any stories that are told, it’s peaceful because we’re not crying, we’re just talking about him,” she said. “You just keep going, and I’m still going.”

Alice said that her husband would be “busting over the moon” knowing that he’s now a grandpa, and that the baby is Peter Charles Martin, the second. 

Photo from Alice Martin

“He’d be so happy to see that these three little boys have become three wonderful men, all doing wonderful things, all living their dreams,” she said. 

And the sons followed in their dad’s footsteps. All three have begun careers helping other people; as a registered nurse, paramedic and licensed Master of Social Work. 

“They’re definitely making a difference in the world,” she added. “He’d be so proud with everything.”

Peter loved snacks and Alice will be reminded of him when she bakes certain things. 

“I don’t believe in closure, but I do believe in the gift of time and the healing that can come with that,” she said. “The hardest part is you have to go through it.”

Photo from Stony Brook Medicine

The Rose Caracappa Senior Center, 739 Route 25A, Mt. Sinai, welcomes a Stony Brook Cancer Center mobile mammography van to its parking lot on Friday, Sept. 10 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Screenings are performed by NYS-registered radiologic technologists with advanced training in mammography. The van has a comfortable waiting area, private dressing room and a complete exam room. Mammography images are read by board-certified radiologists at Stony Brook.

Schedule Appointment

  • Call 631-638-4135 to schedule an appointment

Eligibility:

  • Must be female and 40 years of age or older.
  • No mammograms in the past year.
  • Not pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • No implants or breast issues, such as a lump or nipple discharge.
  • Never diagnosed with breast cancer.
  • Office visit within the past year with a gynecologist, primary care physician or internist who is willing to accept the results of the screening.

On the Day of Your Appointment:

  • Please do not wear deodorant, perfume, powders, lotions or creams on the breast area.
  • Please bring your photo ID and insurance card, if insured.

Health Insurance

  • Individuals who do not have health insurance will be processed through the Cancer Services Program of New York, if eligible.

Photo from the Town of Brookhaven

Brookhaven Town Highway Superintendent Daniel P. Losquadro (R) and Councilman Kevin LaValle (R-Selden) have announced the completion of two paving projects in Centereach and Selden.

 In the first project, heavily-traveled Hawkins Road was resurfaced from Magnolia Drive in Selden to Wireless Road in Centereach. 

Prior to paving, crews inspected drains and made concrete improvements, including replacing damaged concrete sidewalks, curbing and aprons. 

Crews removed and replaced 5,260 linear feet of concrete curb, 7,552 square feet of concrete sidewalk, 3,675 square feet of ADA-compliant handicap ramps, and 7,514 square feet of concrete aprons, at a cost of $506,900. 

The total cost for this project was approximately $1.1 million.

“Hawkins Road is so heavily-traversed and, as such, was in great need of resurfacing,” said Losquadro. “It had been on our radar for some time and I am very grateful we were able to include its resurfacing in our 2021 paving season.”

Additionally, in another paving project, crews resurfaced three nearby residential roadways: Capri Road, Impala Drive and Lark Drive in Centereach. The total cost for this project was $113,557.

“The town’s investment in infrastructure improvements makes our roads safer for motorists, bicycle riders and pedestrians,” LaValle said. “I thank Superintendent Losquadro and the men and women of the Highway Department for the important work they do all year round for the residents in Council District 3 and throughout the town.”

Pictured with the West Meadow beach clean-up volunteers are, from left, co-founder of the Pollution Prevention Passport program, Cayla Rosenhagen; Town of Brookhaven Department of General Services Executive Assistant, Frank Petrignani; Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich; program co-founder, Iris Rosenhagen; Brookhaven Town Youth Board Chair Charlotte Pressley (third from right); Supervisor Ed Romaine (second from right) and Town of Brookhaven Environmental Educator, Nicole Pocchaire (right). Photo by Raina Angelier

By Cayla Rosenhagen

Cayla Rosenhagen

In the words of Dr. Jane Goodall, “Only if we understand, can we care. Only if we care, will we help. Only if we help, we shall be saved.”

Environmental awareness is critical in creating widespread care for the nature that surrounds us. And when we care, we are driven to protect.   

A press conference was held on August 18 at West Meadow Beach in Stony Brook to announce the launch of Brookhaven Town’s new environmental conservation program for all ages. The event, preceded by a beach clean-up with over fifty volunteers, celebrated a novel way for locals to get involved in protecting and appreciating the natural beauty our town has to offer. 

Members of Brookhaven’s Youth Board, including myself, joined Town Supervisor Ed Romaine, Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich, and town environmental educator Nicole Pocchiare at the beach to kick off the Pollution Prevention Passport initiative.

The Passport program encourages community members to visit Brookhaven’s many parks and beaches and record their travels in their very own document of travel. Additionally, it fosters environmental stewardship by supporting and suggesting eco-friendly decisions and collecting litter. 

Inside the passport, participants will find pages to tally the kinds of litter they have found, to document and illustrate their experiences, and record the conservation efforts they have made during their outings. A map featuring an inspiring list of Brookhaven’s abundant parks and beaches can be found in the back of the passport. 

After filling in the passport, it can be submitted to the Town for a “Stamp of Stewardship,” as recognition for the participant’s contribution to protecting Brookhaven’s green spaces.   

To download and print a passport of your own, or to find out more about the program, please visit brookhavenny.gov/passport.

Cayla Rosenhagen is a local high school student who enjoys capturing the unique charm of the community through photography and journalism. She serves on the board of directors for the Four Harbors Audubon Society and Brookhaven’s Youth Board, and is the founder and coordinator of Beach Bucket Brigade, a community outreach program dedicated to environmental awareness, engagement, and education. She is also an avid birder, hiker, and artist who is concurrently enrolled in college, pursuing a degree in teaching. 

Brookhaven Town Landfill. Image from Google Maps

By Lisa Scott and Nancy Marr

Planning and decision making in our county needs to be a more open, thoughtful process. There is a concern on the part of communities in the area surrounding the Brookhaven Town Landfill that the plans for closing it in 2024 are unclear and have not been fully disclosed to the public. 

The League’s March 2021 TBR column on zero waste (https://tbrnewsmedia.com/making-democracy-work-how-can-we-get-to-zero-waste/) set the stage … our goal is to significantly reduce our garbage, but we are far from getting significant action from our neighbors (and our consumer/disposable society) in the next few years. Thus, what the Town of Brookhaven (TOB) does with the landfill site, the surrounding area, and the ash disposal will be a major factor for central Suffolk residents in the coming years. 

The TOB landfill was established on vacant land zoned mostly residential in 1974. Hamlets, developments, neighborhoods now surround the landfill site, including the areas of North Bellport and Horizon Village. 

Looking ahead to the closing of the landfill, TOB officials have proposed changing the zoning of 136 acres on the landfill site from residential to light industry and selling some of the land for an industrial park, with a codicil to prevent certain waste-related uses. (The remaining acres include the municipal recycling facility and yard waste and composting operations and undisturbed woodland.) 

At the zoning hearing held by the TOB in July, residents from all parts of the town protested the plan to sell the acreage and suggested instead that the town seek community input about how to remediate and re-purpose the entire landfill property. Clearly information is required about possible contamination of water and soil and the testing results over the past 50 years (think of the Bethpage and Brookhaven Lab plumes). 

The League is focused on civic education and government transparency. We urge the TOB Supervisor and Board to THINK BIG! The problems and possible solutions to the landfill closure, possible pollution, health effects and ash-disposal are just one part of a proposed ongoing discussion. 

Appointing a sustainability committee could lead the TOB toward better understanding of the problem and solutions and lead a community education effort. The town needs to communicate the issues openly with the public and hold public listening sessions to get constituents’ input. Garbage itself, and its costs in dollars, health, property values, and yes, our children’s future, MUST be described and garbage volume reduced significantly. If the landfill is to close in 2024, time is of the essence. Everyone should have the opportunity to be heard.

In a time of contentiousness and public strife, it’s critical that government brings its citizens/residents into the tent and that accurate, thorough information is the basis. The people must be heard, and decision-making must be transparent and accessible. The Town of Brookhaven owes this to the people who elected them and placed their trust in these representatives. 

Lisa Scott is president and Nancy Marr is vice-president of the League of Women Voters of Suffolk County, a nonprofit nonpartisan organization that encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government and influences public policy through education and advocacy. Visit www.lwv-suffolkcounty.org or call 631-862-6860.

Photo from Pixabay

Looking out the window on a sunny day, one might notice a not-so-subtle haziness in the sky. However, that haze isn’t harmless clouds or fog, it’s smoke that’s traveled a far distance across the nation from raging wildfires in California and Canada.

As concerns grow over the impact of these wildfires stretching their way over to the East Coast, Long Islanders are beginning to become uneasy about the repercussions the hazy smoke might have among residents. 

With multiple reports of poor air quality in the past few weeks, people who have vulnerable conditions such as asthma, emphysema, or heart disease need to be wary and avoid going outside or doing strenuous activity. 

“There is something called fine particulate matter, which is very small ash,” said Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment. “The cause of concern is that this is the type of material that causes respiratory ailments. It irritates the throat and respiratory system, but most importantly fine particulate matter can lodge in your lungs and make microscopic perforations, much like asbestos.”

According to Esposito, It is highly likely the ash will also be deposited into Long Island’s estuary and could affect the marine environment. However, it is uncertain exactly how much will accumulate due to the variables of wind speed and the amount of ash that will be pushed toward the Island. 

“The East Coast should absolutely have an increased concern of weather events associated with climate change,” she added. “What we are having right now is an increase of torrential rain, and an increase in intensification of storms which means that hurricanes that might normally be a Category 1 [the lowest] now have the ability to reach 2, 3, or 4.” Esposito said. 

Kevin Reed. Photo from Stony Brook University

Although air pollution issues are nothing new to New York, there are always certain times of the year, particularly in the summertime, that fine particulate matter can get trapped. The question of the future frequency of surrounding wildfires still stands.

While Long Island is experiencing a rainy season, California is currently facing one of the worst droughts in history. Within a two-year period, rain and snow totals in parts of the West have been 50 percent less than average.  

“Just because Long Island is having a really wet season right now doesn’t mean it couldn’t shift later this year,” said Kevin Reed, a Stony Brook University School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences researcher. 

According to Reed, the winds that blow from out West don’t always streamline toward the East Coast. Direction in wind patterns could cause the air flow to “wobble,” so it is uncertain whether or not Long Island may face more smoke pollution in the future. 

“Drought is certainly becoming more severe, potentially longer lasting, and at a larger extent, which means larger parts of land will be susceptible to wildfire,” Reed said.

Adding that wildfires are typically a natural occurrence and benefits land by replenishing it, Reed said the extent of the current wildfires is most likely a result of climate change and has potential to harm people and the environment.

“Air pollution could really affect our human health, especially to certain groups that are more susceptible to issues with air quality,” he said. “Even if it’s here for one day it could have an impact and of course the impact is going to be multiplied if it’s a longer-term event.”